Cultural Economic Geographyand Global Media Studies: The Rise of Asian Media Capitals?Professor Terry Flew, ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and InnovationQueensland University of Technology,Brisbane, Australia ACS Crossroads 2010 Lingnan University, Hong Kong June 17-21 2010
Issues for Global Media Studies 2 Is the influence of “Global Hollywood” increasing or decreasing in the early 21st century? Are the number of internationally significant “media capitals” increasing or decreasing? What makes for a sustainable media capital? Is the literature on “creative clusters” a help of hindrance in understanding the dynamics of media capitals? Is there a tendency towards policy convergence between national media systems (e.g. the neoliberal globalization thesis)?
Global Media Studies: The Uneasy Stand-off Between Political Economy and Cultural Studies 1990s: cultural studies tended to critique political economy esp. around active audience theories No singular cultural studies approach to global media – “bower-bird” approach to the field 2000s: cultural studies has tended to accept political economy approach to production/economy Stand-off has been arising from focus on production or consumption
Questioning the Political Economy of Global Media DOMINANT CLAIMS COUNTER-CLAIMS Hegemony of “Global Hollywood” has strengthened and extended to digital media domains IP provides the new basis of dominance and dependency relations Media policy convergence has been occurring under the sign of neo-liberal globalization Global media markets have become more competitive and national systems have been strengthening International media and cultural landscape is becoming more diverse and decentralised National media policy and regulatory frameworks remain highly diverse
Cultural Economic Geography “Cultural turn” in economic geography Following the Marxist turn on economic geography (70s-80s) Regulation School and new institutionalism Consumption as a socio-economic driver Discursive construction of economic categories 5
Rise of Cultural Economy Incursion of sign-value into ever-widening spheres of productive activity Culturalisation of economic life Management of culture and organisational performance Growing reflexivity of consumption Economy of qualities/relations (Callon)
Cultural Construction of Economic Categories Culture as variable source of competitive advantage in context of globalisation (Yúdice) Three “big ideas” of cultural economic geography (MericGertler) Flexible global production networks - changing significance of geographical proximity Shift in innovation models from ideas-push to geographical clusters and sustained interaction – why do some regions develop path-dependent untraded interdependencies? Cumulative advantage of path-dependent innovation and increasing returns to scale 7
Actor-Network Theories and New Modes of Governance Rise of network relations and network governance Internet promotes complex topologies rather than core-periphery models Network governance challenges state/market and public/private divides Rise of soft capitalism (Thrift) Travelling theories (Pratt, Gibson & Kong, Gibson)
Rise of creative industries 9 Rise of the CI sectors: 7-9% of US GDP, and 3-6% for other OECD economies (Australia 5% in 2006) Shifting of lines between ‘symbolic’ and ‘material’ goods Design-intensity of products Sign-value and competitive advantage “Engel’s Law”: consumer affluence and symbolic consumption Agglomeration tendencies in CIs: Just-in-time specialist labour Dense networks of SMEs Project-based work Synergistic benefits of concentration Associated soft infrastructure
Two Trajectories of Economic Globalization Deterritorialized economic production Generic, cost-driven production models “race to the bottom” Standardised commodities Territorialized economic production Location-specific resources (esp. skills and tacit knowledge) Clustering and path-dependent innovation De-standardised commodities and importance of untraded interdependencies in particular locations
Problems Problem with neo-Marxist dependency models (e.g. NICL) is that they only see the former occurring Problem with amenities-based growth models (e.g. creative clusters, creative cities) is that they believe everyone can achieve the latter Ignored tendency of capitalism towards both dualistic and uneven development
Michael Curtin, Playing to the World’s Biggest Audience (UC Press, 2007) 12
Rise of “Greater China” as a centre of media production and consumption
Is this developing an independent dynamism in a fast-growing market?
Hollywood today is nevertheless very much like Detroit forty years ago, a factory town that produces big bloated vehicles with plenty of chrome. As production budgets mushroom, quality declines in large part as a result of institutional inertia and a lack of competition. Like Detroit, Hollywood has dominated for so long that many of its executives have difficulty envisioning the transformations now on the horizon. Because of this myopia, the global future is commonly imagined as a world brought together by homogeneous cultural products produced and circulated by American media (Curtin, 2007: 4).
Variables shaping the spatial dimensions of media/formation of media capitals Logic of accumulation: centripedal forces of production/centrifugal tendencies of distribution Trajectories of creative migration Forces of socio-cultural variation Role of national media and cultural policies 13
The rise of Asian media capitals? Are Chinese media industries really on a “Hollywood” trajectory? Regionalization rather than globalization – inclusions (Singapore?) and exclusions (Japan, Korea?) Issue of lack of policy coherence in media policies across East Asia 14