Cultural Industries and Cultural Policy Andy Pratt

Topics: Culture, Policy, High culture Pages: 23 (7258 words) Published: April 5, 2013
David Hesmondhalgh and Andy C. Pratt

Cultural industries and cultural policy
Article (Accepted version)
Original citation:
Hesmondhalgh, David and Pratt, Andy C (2005) Cultural industries and cultural policy. International journal of cultural policy, 11 (1). pp. 1-14.
DOI: 10.1080/10286630500067598
© 2004 Taylor and Francis
This version available at:
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David Hesmondhalgh *
Sociology Discipline, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University, England

Andy C. Pratt
Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics, England

Abstract: This article analyses and contextualises a variety of relationships between the cultural industries and cultural policy. A principal aim is to examine policies which are explicitly formulated as cultural (or creative) industries policies. It seeks to address questions such as: what lies behind such policies? How do they relate to other kinds of cultural policy, including those more oriented towards media, communications, arts and heritage? The first section asks how the cultural industries became such an important idea in cultural policy, when those industries had been largely invisible in traditional (arts and heritage-based) policy for many decades. What changed and what drove the major changes? In the second section, we look at a number of problems and conceptual tensions which arise from the new importance of the cultural industries in contemporary public policy, including problems concerning definition and scope, and the accurate mapping of the sector, but also tensions surrounding the insertion of commercial and industrial culture into cultural policy regimes characterised by legacies of romanticism and idealism. We also look at problems surrounding the academic division of labour in this area of study. In the final section, we conclude by summarising some of the main contemporary challenges facing cultural policy and cultural policy studies with regard to the cultural industries. The piece also serves to introduce the contributions to a special issue of International Journal of Cultural Policy on ‘The Cultural Industries and Cultural Policy’.

Keywords: cultural industries, cultural policy


Corresponding author:


The last few years have seen a boom in interest in the idea of ‘the cultural industries’ in academic and policy-making circles. In government cultural policy, this boom has been apparent at the international, national and local level, in a massive array of reports, initiatives and partnerships that use the term ‘cultural industries’ (or ‘creative industries’). Academically, this boom has been apparent in numerous journal articles and books on the cultural and creative industries across a wide range of disciplines, among them economic and cultural geography, arts management, economics, management studies, media studies and sociology. This explosion of writing and thinking about the...
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