The Culture Industries

Symbolic Economies and Critical Practices

in Social Analysis
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  • 1 University of Plymouth m.f.miles@plymouth.ac.uk
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Art has become a ubiquitous if at times convenient solution to problems of urban regeneration and social division. Generally, it takes the form of commissioned works or projects in development schemes, supported by state bureaucracies and funding agencies, which view the arts as expedient in relation to problems produced by other areas of policy, from unemployment to social exclusion. Currently, a shift can be detected in arts policy toward a restatement of the aesthetic approach characteristic of the post-war years, in which art does best what art alone does. At the same time, there has been a growth of new, mainly collaborative art practices, constituting a dissidence reliant on art's structures of support while seeking to subvert their intentions. The article outlines the perceived role of art in urban economic development, suggests that a shift in policy is taking place, and describes the new cultural dissidence through specific cases.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology