Contemporary society is complex; governed and administered by a range of contradictory policies, practices and techniques. Nowhere are these contradictions more keenly felt than in cultural policy. This book uses insights from a range of disciplines to aid the reader in understanding contemporary cultural policy.
Drawing on a range of case studies, including analysis of the reality of work in the creative industries, urban regeneration and current government cultural policy in the UK, the book discusses the idea of value in the cultural sector, showing how value plays out in cultural organizations.
Uniquely, the book crosses disciplinary boundaries to present a thorough introduction to the subject. As a result, the book will be of interest to a range of scholars across arts management, public and nonprofit management, cultural studies, sociology and political science. It will also be essential reading for those working in the arts, culture and public policy.
The book is likely to become a key reference. It provides a clear path to explore the field with thoroughly convincing indications of where the traps and deadends in such exploration might be.
David Wright, British Journal of Sociology
'The combination of theoretical rigour and empirical insight of this succinct critical introduction to cultural policy makes it an invaluable reference work for students and researchers of cultural and public policy in general.
Christiaan De Beukelaer, Cultural Trends
Concise and critically astute.
Ruth Adams, LSE Review of Books
Dave O'Brien's much needed textbook succeeds in integrating cutting edge sociological research on social change and inequality with an analysis of urbanism, creativity, and cultural value. This book is now the state of the art and will be a crucial resource for all students of cultural policy.
Mike Savage, Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
O'Brien's book strikes the right balance between a well-made introduction to all basic notions and issues in the cultural policy, and a wide array of rich and always stimulating case studies. It is a timely book, which helps rethink and reinvent new ways of practicing cultural policy in a moment of great challenges for the creative industries.
Jan Baetens, University of Leuven, Belgium.
This is a timely, and pertinent text in the arena of cultural policy, addressing all the main issues in relation to cultural policy and its various manifestations in the UK. This is a text book that is long overdue and an essential for undergraduate and postgraduate students across a range of disciplines, including Cultural Management, Tourism Management/Development, Museum Management and Curatorship, Arts Management etc.
Dr. Clare Carruthers, University of Ulster
In his broad-ranging and engaging book Dave O’Brien provides a welcome, distinctive and enriching political science perspective to key issues and debates in cultural policy studies. The result is a thought-provoking new contribution to understanding cultural value as one of the defining debates of twenty-first century British cultural policy.
Eleonora Belfiore, University of Warwick, UK
O’Brien’s urgent, wide-ranging and original synthesis of ideas provides a limpid and challenging framework for anyone wishing to make sense of contemporary cultural policy and its importance. It will prove invaluable for those of us teaching future cultural workers and researchers as well as those in the industries or involved in the formulation of policy and its assessment. Henceforth, when I hear the word culture, I’ll reach for O’Brien.
Dr. Paul Long, Birmingham City University, UK
Dave O'Brien brings a keenly critical eye to debates in the cultural/creative sector of British life. This volume ably brings together relevant work in political science and sociology as well as the author's own research. The result will be a landmark!
Toby Miller, Professor, University of California, USA
1. Introduction 2. Modernity, Government and the Social Life of Methods: Defining the Context for Cultural Policy 3. Whose Culture?: Participation and Consumption in Contemporary Life 4. ‘Beats Working for a Living': Life in the Creative Economy 5. Changing Places: The End of the Golden Age of Culture-Led Regeneration 6. The Value of Culture: Theories of ‘Public Value’ and Cultural Organizations 7. Conclusion