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Cultural Capitalism: Politics after New Labour


Timothy Bewes and Jeremy Gilbert (eds)

Culrural CapitalismSince the election of a New Labour government, the cultural domain has been politically charged like never before. Official manifestos have been published and public projects have proliferated, signalling a level of ideological attention to culture unprecedented in democratic societies. This is an era of 'cultural capitalism', in which an extremely static conception of culture is required to absorb or efface ideological conflict, rather than give expression to it, or otherwise resolve it. Art and design, film and architecture take on the roles of cementing national identity, of staging the collapse of artistic into economic value, of categorically separating political commitment from individual experience.

Cultural Capitalism presents a series of differing inflections of the relationship between politics and culture. Its contributors include a veteran of the cultural studies wars in America, a business consultant on cultural affairs in Europe, and scholars working in the fields of politics and cultural theory. The first half of the book examines the state of interdisciplinary studies, critically assesssing their ability to grapple with the current phase of capitalist expansion. The second half looks explicity at the cultural politics of New Labour, including its relationship to discourses of managerialism, its fascination with grands projets, and its self- mythologising investment in the concept of spin.

This book resists the defeatist suggestion that politics is now merely 'cultural politics', but also challenges those who find the 'contamination' of politics by culture unacceptable. It will be indispensable to students and observers of the contemporary political scene, to those curious about whatever happened to cultural studies, and to everyone frustrated at the impoverishment of art, culture and politics in the current climate.

Contributors: Timothy Bewes, Jeremy Gilbert, Paul Smith, Martin McQuillan, Tiziana Terranova, Alan Finlayson, Matt Jordan, Karen Lisa Goldschmidt Salamon, Jo Littler.

Timothy Bewes is a Research Fellow at Liverpool John Moores University, and the author of Cynicism and Postmodernity (Verso, 1997).

Jeremy Gilbert teaches Cultural Studies and Media Studies at the University of London. He is the co-author of Discographies: Dance Music, Culture and the politics of Sound (Routledge, 1999).

Paperback 250pp, All rights L&W.
ISBN: 0 85315 917 3
ISBN13: 9780853159179

 

Price: £14.99