PR, Films and Fantasies

What is the Value of Culture?

Posted on: November 22, 2011

During my induction week at King’s College, back in September, we were given a short task in order to get used to the house style of writing essays. The question is very broad and there are a billion ways of approaching it, but apparently I did quite a good job so I thought about sharing my answer with the world. As this is my first essay in a long time (my BA was mainly fcused on research reports and media/PR portfolios) any feedback will be truly appreciated!

What is the value of culture?

In your answer you should clearly outline:

i) what you mean by ‘culture’;

ii) from whose (or which) perspective(s) you are primarily answering the question;

iii) relevant arguments or debates concerning the nature of ‘value’ and ‘valuing’; and

iv) what makes your approach to the question a valid response?

“In a time of global recession, international public spheres, virtual realities and online societies, defining “culture”, already famous for being “one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language” (Williams, 1983:87), and especially determining its “value” seems to still be creating many difficulties. This not only concerns scholars and practitioners but especially policy makers, who, above all, must govern the public funds which are directed towards this unknown “concept”. Although the tendencies of the moment are either to avoid the term by any means (Lewis, 1990) or simply assume that its definition is common sense for those involved in the conversation, “it is difficult to deal seriously with the subject of art (or culture) without saying what you mean by it” (Lewis, 1990:3). As “culture” is one of those “concepts (…) that we simply cannot do without, because it is used everywhere” (Willis, 2008:xxi), in my attempt of referring to the controversies around its “value” I will start by analysing previous research and discussions around the term itself in order to reach a definition that could be applicable in the field of public policy and funding.” 

Click here for the rest of it: The Value of Culture


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