1st Edition

Cultural Democracy Now What It Means and Why We Need It

By Owen Kelly Copyright 2023
    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    Positioning cultural democracy in a historical context and in a context of adjacent movements such as the creative commons, open source movement, and maker movement, this book goes back to first principles and asks what personhood means in the twenty-first century, what cultural democracy means, why we should want it, and how we can work towards it.

    In this new book, the author provides a timely untangling of the various historical meanings of the term and explores the various ways in which it has been co-opted, suggesting that it has a strength that we should open up to examination with a view to reinvigorating it. Just as importantly, the book situates cultural democracy within the wider framework of progressive political and social movements, and of the impact of new digital information and communication technologies. To those unfamiliar with the term, it introduces cultural democracy through related concepts such as digital cultural politics, participatory democracy, and digital citizenship.

    Providing a much-needed theoretical take on the growing interest in cultural democracy, this book will be essential reading for students and scholars interested in the arts as well as practitioners and policy makers. It combines theory and practice with a view to inciting both thought and action.


    Part I: Autonomous Vehicles

    1. The Mind and the Body

    2. Problems with Selfhood

    3. Dennett's Solution

    4. Narratives and Consciousness

    5. Darwin and Evolution

    6. Genes and Memes

    7. Late to the Party

    Part II: Cultural Landscapes

    8. The First Tools - Language and numbers

    9. The Nature of Tools - Conviviality

    10. Gamification - Shopping as Theatre

    11. Selling Ourselves - Quantified Data

    12. The Price of Fame - Film and Celebrity

    13. Liking our Selves - Social Media

    14. Buying the Culture - IP and Creativity

    Part III: Making a Difference

    15. Community, Citizenship, and Creativity

    16. Codifying Culture

    17. Cultural Democracy - A Definition

    18. Cultural Democracy and Community

    19. Cultural Democracy and Economics

    20. Cultural Democracy and Politics

    21. ALL Together Now



    A Final Word about Language


    Owen Kelly writes and researches as Principal Lecturer Emeritus in online media at Arcada, a university of applied science, in Helsinki. He has worked as a community artist, a cultural consultant, a soundscaper, and a multimedia programmer. He is the author of Community, Art and the State, Digital Creativity, and Ambient Learning and Self Authorship, and has an ongoing interest in developing convivial tools that assist in the struggle for cultural democracy.