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The Expediency of Culture: Uses of Culture in the Global Era

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The Expediency of Culture: Uses of Culture in the Global Era by Yudice, George; Fish, Stanley Eugene; Jameson, Fredric, 9780822331681
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  • ISBN: 9780822331681 | 0822331683
  • Cover: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1/1/2004
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The Expediency of Culture is a pioneering theorization of the changing role of culture in an increasingly global world. George Y˙dice explores how groups ranging from indigenous activists to nation-states to nongovernmental organizations have all come to see culture as a valuable resource to be invested in, contested, and used for varied sociopolitical and economic ends. Through a dazzling series of illustrative studies, Y˙dice shows how the concept of culture-as-resource absorbs and cancels out hitherto prevailing distinctions like those between high and mass culture. He describes a world where "high" culture (such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain) is a mode of urban development, rituals and everyday aesthetic practices are mobilized to promote tourism and the heritage industries, and mass culture industries comprise significant portions of a number of countries' gross national products.Y˙dice contends that a new international division of cultural labor has emerged, combining local difference with transnational administration and investment. This does not mean, he points out, that today's increasingly transnational culture -exemplified by the entertainment industries and the so-called global civil society of nongovernmental organizations-is necessarily homogenized. He demonstrates that national and regional differences are still functional, shaping the meaning of phenomena from pop songs to antiracist activism. Y˙dice considers a range of sites where identity politics and cultural agency are negotiated in the face of powerful transnational forces. He analyzes appropriations of American funk music as well as a citizen action initiative in Rio de Janeiro to show how global notions such as cultural difference are deployed within specific social fields. He provides a political and cultural economy of a vast and increasingly influential art event- inSite, a triennial festival extending from San Diego to Tijuana. He also reflects on Miami as one of a number of transnational "cultural corridors" and on the uses of culture in an unstable world where censorship and terrorist acts interrupt the usual channels of capitalist and artistic flows.

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