The expediency of culture - George Ydice

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Title
The expediency of culture - uses of culture in the global era
Author
George Ydice
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Duke University Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20040331

The Expediency of Culture is a pioneering theorization of the changing role of culture in an increasingly globalized world. George Ydice explores critically 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, Ydice challenges the Gramscian notion of cultural struggle for hegemony and instead develops an understanding of culture where cultural agency at every level is negotiated within globalized contexts dominated by the active management and administration of 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.

Ydice contends that a new international division of cultural labor has emerged, combining local difference with transnational administration and investment. This does not mean 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. Ydice 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 the city of 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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George Ydice is Professor of American Studies and Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures and Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University. He is the coauthor of Cultural Policy and coeditor of On Edge: The Crisis of Contemporary Latin American Culture.

"George Ydice's book demonstrates more clearly than any other I know how deeply and inextricably culture is today, in the era of globalization, embedded in economic circuits and political regimes. His provocative analyses of the function of culture in contexts throughout the Americas give us a new and powerful model for cultural studies."-Michael Hardt, coauthor of Empire


"The Expediency of Culture is a groundbreaking book destined to become a necessary reference throughout the Americas. It will serve scholars in a wide range of disciplines, as well as groups and individuals working in the areas of culture promotion, social activism, and policy making and those who are involved in educational and cultural institutions, non-governmental organizations, research foundations, the entertainment industries, museums, and the arts. . . . The Expediency of Culture will revolutionize our interpretations of the significance of the notion of culture, its social uses (in the sense of its value or worth to societies), and the actual ways culture is 'used.'"

Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies - Daniel Mato

"Expediency of Culture represents a major contribution to the field. It is crossdisciplinary in its scope and manages to provide a sober and balanced assessment of the challenges confronting cultural activists and reformers. The issues raised are important in the age of terrorism and governmental spin-doctoring, a theme dealt with in the final chapter. What might advocates of culture as resource offer to the war on terror? Will appeals to community prevail? Where does the anti-globalization go from here? These are important issues and Yudice is challenging us to reassess our understandings of how culture works on the social. I hope that this timely publication will bring Yudice's work to a wider readership."

Continuum - Michael Keane

"The present substantial book . . . confirms the nuanced complexity and importance of Ydice's work. . . . This learned volume offers a coherent perspective on the links between urban locality, national territory, transnational and global commerce in culture, and mobile group identities. Highly recommended."

Choice - Khachig Tololyan

"Ydice monitors an ethical pulse to culture's utilization. Through careful analysis of cultural events and collaborations (including the national politics of samba, Afro reggae, and funk music in Brazil; Rio de Janeirian citizen initiatives of Viva Rio and the Associao Internacional Arte Sem Fronteiras; the Zapatista movement in Mexico; Miami-based media production targeting a hemisphere of Latin consumers; and the triennial inSITE art exhibition on the border between San Diego and Tijuana), Ydice avers that cultural policy is influenced not only by 'corporations, the media, foundations, politicians' but 'sometimes even citizens' (286). . . . Nuanced. . . ."

American Literature - Kendall Johnson

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Culture.|Cultural policy.|Globalization - Social aspects.|Consumption (Economics) - Social aspects.
Country of Publication
North Carolina
Number of Pages
472

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