• Line Hedeboe Børch Jensen
4. term, Communication, Master (Master Programme)
In the context of The Experience Economy, art and culture are primarily considered useful as a product and an industry that may help generate economic growth in the corporate sector and society in general. And so cultural institutions tend to adopt the logic and objectives traditionally associated with the business world. Business logic is commercial and its objective is economic growth. In other words, in The Experience Economy context, culture is becoming subject to increased commercialization. My thesis focuses on the positions held by cultural institutions participating in The Experience Economy, and it is based on the premise that in many ways cultural institutions either uncritically embrace the concept of Experience Economy or they reject it outright. Thus the overall question discussed in my thesis is: How can cultural institutions effect a synthesis of the ideals of art and culture with the commercial ideals of the business world? I am basing my thesis on two analyses: A theoretical, deconstructive analysis and an empirical analysis of hegemonic relations. Both these analyses are structured according to discursive style strategies of analysis and follow naturally from the scientific standpoint of my thesis, i.e. social constructivism. The objective of the theoretical analysis is to discuss the cultural concept constructed as part of The Experience Economy and the resulting inherent relations between cultural institutions and the corporate sector. This is achieved by referring to various theories that represent different views on the relationship between cultural institutions and the business world. Pierre Bourdieu portrays The Field of Cultural Production claiming that traditionally artists turn the laws of the business world upside down favouring an autonomous principle of hierarchisation. On the other hand there is the heteronomous ideal characterized by the endeavour to achieve quantifiable results. Experience Economy constructs a concept of culture that is instrumental in nature and favours heteronomous principles of hierarchisation. The theoretical analysis covers viewpoints ranging from Theodor W. Adorno's critical view of the cultural industry to John Seabrook's theory Nobrow, in which the fusion of the ideals of the cultural and the corporate sectors is no longer questioned. Society has become still more dedifferentiated, and on the other hand ideals and logics associated with a differentiating social order continue to be reactualized. And so the Experience Economy ideal of art is constantly being challenged by the traditional, autonomous ideal. If the arts and culture community is ever to embrace the commercial ideals of the business world, it must abandon the differentiation between arts and business and thus also relinquish the traditionally maintained distinction between the commercial and the autonomous concept of culture. Only by reinventing the cultural concept and creating new ideals can cultural institutions achieve a synthesis of their ideals with the ideals of the corporate sector. Today's players in the arts scene have to be acutely aware that in a dedifferentiated society they must have a good story to tell in order to attract the attention of the corporate sector, and that some of the arts have better stories to tell and thus hold better cards when it comes to courting the favour of the business world. They have to be aware that the business world will enter into co-operative relations from a superior position of power as money is still the decisive factor of power in today's society. Finally, in a dedifferentiated society we are faced with the serious challenge of telling the difference between publicity, art and politics and determining quality without the traditional frame of reference to rely on. Interviews with members of the Aarhus Festival secretariat form the object of analysis of the empirical study, and in several respects the respondents confirm the idea that participating in the experience economy is a hegemonic project. They identify the potential benefits of investing the cultural concept with new meaning so as to facilitate a synthesis of cultural and corporate sector ideals. At the same time, it is important that cultural institutions hold on to their artistic integrity as they might otherwise risk losing their credibility. It is a question of combining business and art without falling into either pit. It is essential that the cultural sector upholds its autonomous ideals so as to be able to justify its raison d'être and to distinguish it from the business world. It is not possible for all art forms to embrace the ideals of the business world, and cultural institutions must find a way to accommodate artists, who favour heteronomous ideals, as well as those who are in favour of autonomous ideals.
Publication date2007
Number of pages110
Publishing institutionKommunikation
ID: 8593973