Cultural Economic Geography: A New Paradigm for Global Communication Studies?


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Presentation to ICA09 Pre-Conference for Global Communication and Social Change, Chicago, IL, USA, 20 May 2009

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Cultural Economic Geography: A New Paradigm for Global Communication Studies?

  1. 1. Cultural Economic Geography: A New Paradigm for Global Media Studies? Professor Terry Flew, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia GLOBAL COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL CHANGE PRE-CONFERENCE EVENT INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION 5 9 THC O N F E R E N C E , K E Y W O R D S I N COMMUNICATION CHICAGO, IL, USA, 21-25 MAY, 2009
  2. 2. Issues for Global Media Studies 2 1. Is the influence of “Global Hollywood” increasing or decreasing in the early 21st century? 2. Are the number of significant “media capitals” increasing or decreasing? What makes for a sustainable media capital? 3. Is there a tendency towards policy convergence between national media systems?
  3. 3. Cultural Economic Geography 3  “Cultural turn” in economic geography  Regulation School  Consumption as a socio-economic driver  Cultural economy  Discursive construction of economic categories  Rethinking spatial dimensions of social power  “Culture” as an economic variable
  4. 4. Three “big ideas” of cultural economic geography (MericGertler) 4  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
  5. 5. Rise of creative industries 5  Rise of the CI sectors: 7-9% of US GDP, and 3-5% for other OECD economies  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  Clustering in CIs:  Tacit knowledge of specialist labour inputs  Networked organisation of production (SMEs)  Project-based employment and transaction costs  Matching individual creativity to market opportunity  Associated services, infrastructure and policy environment
  6. 6. Michael Curtin, Playing to the World’s Biggest Audience (UC Press, 2007) 6 • 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).
  7. 7. Variables shaping the spatial dimensions of media/media capitals 7  Logic of accumulation: centripedal forces of production/centrifugal tendencies of distribution  Trajectories of creative migration  Forces of socio-cultural variation  Role of national media policies
  8. 8. Issues arising 8  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