Françoise Benhamou, Les dérèglements de l’exception culturelle
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No doubt only a French writer would have the courage to begin a book on the economics of culture with a quotation that refers to “a glaring lack of happiness in this business”. The quote reflects the highly symbolic place that culture has always occupied in French society and in government activity. It would be a mistake, however, to see Françoise Benhamou's book as a work aimed solely at a French audience or characterized by a purely “French” view of culture. The book describes, in much broader terms, the general crisis in which the cultural sector and the policies that support it have been immersed since the 1990s. There is no shortage of evidence of this crisis: it can be found in changes in the relationship with the public, in the creators of cultural products who are in search of their own identity, and in the economic shifts associated with the rise of the star system and the emergence of bottlenecks in the relationship between creation and distribution.
In describing these...