Assessing the Cultural Impact of Economics

  • Justin O’Connor
Part of the New Directions in Cultural Policy Research book series (NDCPR)


The title of this chapter is intentionally provocative. Turning the tables on four decades of pursuing culture’s economic impact so as to make a compelling case for its value, it tries to assess not only the consequences of such an effort, but also why it was deemed necessary and how we might think ourselves out of it. In addition, I suggest that in trying to move on from the binary scenario of Wilde’s ‘value of nothing’, we need to be extremely cautious. Alongside the hypocrisy and the complex strategies of distinction, there were some very good reasons for culture’s distrust of the economic. Indeed, culture as such might be defined largely in terms of its parallel emergence with that of the economy as such. So, when we hear — as we have over the last decades of creative economy rhetoric — that culture and economics have put aside their differences and are now happily married, we need to know whether or not this is, in fact, simply Theodore Adorno’s (1977) ‘reconciliation under duress’.


Cost Benefit Analysis Creative Industry Cultural Industry Cultural Policy Cultural Economy 
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© Justin O’Connor 2015

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  • Justin O’Connor

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