Cultural industries and development : a qualitative study of actors within Puebla's cultural industries, rooted in UNESCO's pluralistic valuation of "culture" with an emphasis on the development potential
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Activity in the cultural industries accounts for a great deal of the global GDP. The role of cultural industries in a development context has gained much attention during the past decades. International bodies like UNESCO are especially emphasizing the importance of the cultural industries, as they have the potential of generating employment and welfare – but also because cultural expression and activity is something of intrinsic value and essential for human development beyond economic terms; it defines who we are and conveys existential attributes such as identity, heritage and meaning. This paper seeks to investigate certain linkages within the cycle of activities that is the ‘cultural industries’. A fieldwork was carried out in the city of Puebla, Mexico, with the aim of looking into the relationships between producers of cultural goods and the agencies charged with governance of cultural services. The main objectives were stated as to 1) investigate how efforts regarding governance of cultural industries may bring about development, and 2) consider possible tensions that might serve as obstacles in order to carry out efficient and beneficial cultural policies. In order to approach these objectives, a qualitative research design was elaborated and data was drawn from the various interviews with artists and representatives of agencies. While UNESCO brings the legitimacy of bringing ‘culture’ in on the development arena, complementary research on the field is employed so as to identify possible connections between findings and theory. The findings reveal that Puebla is a city with continuous cultural activity at many levels, embracing a vast array of different artistic expressions. The analytical discussion draws possible parallels between findings and theory and sheds light on possible tensions in the relationship between ‘artists’ and ‘institutions’, ‘culture’ and ‘industry’.
Master thesis in development management- University of Agder 2012