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Περικοπές, πολιτισμός και ο λαβύρινθος των εννοιών = Cuts, culture and the labyrinth of means

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Στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο, μετά την οικονομική κρίση, η κυβέρνηση συνασπισμού των Συντηρητικών-Φιλελεύθερων εφαρμόζει μια σειρά αυστηρών περικοπών στα κονδύλια που αφορούν τον τομέα του πολιτισμού. Ανάλογη πολιτική έχει εφαρμοστεί και στο πρόσφατο παρελθόν: περικοπές στον πολιτισμό εφαρμόστηκαν από τη συντηρητική κυβέρνηση της δεκαετίας του 1980, βασιζόμενες στη λογική της αγοράς του νέο-φιλελευθερισμού. Ωστόσο, ακόμη και η κυβέρνηση Θάτσερ, η οποία έγινε διάσημη για τις επιθέσεις της στον δημόσιο τομέα , δεν εφάρμοσε περικοπές τόσο δραστικές όσο αυτές που συντελούνται αυτή τη στιγμή. = In post-financial crisis United Kingdom, the Conservative-Liberal coalition government is currently implementing a number of severe cuts to public spending on culture. It is not without precedent in recent history: cultural cuts were carried out by the Conservative government in the 1980s, informed by the market logic of neo-liberalism. However, even the Thatcher government, which became famous for its attacks on the public sector, didn’t implement cuts as drastic as those now being carried out. The recent round of cuts has again brought to the fore the dominant market-driven discourse of neo-liberalism, and this time around, arguments regarding the centrality of value for money and the primacy of quantitative over qualitative values are so weakly contested that even defenders of culture rely predominantly on economic arguments so as to justify the maintenance of existing levels of funding. It is my contention that a key consequence of the prominence of market discourse in relation to cultural funding is that we get stuck in what the classical sociologist Georg Simmel (1997, p. 250) – more than 100 years ago – termed the labyrinth of means. In modern society money is increasingly the equivalent of all values, it is at the intersection of all things, and because everything has a price, the subtle distinctions between the value of things are eroded and qualitative values are by obscured by quantitative values. Money pulls the highest down to the lowest, and because it is a means to all the delights in the world, it has become coveted as an end in itself. As a consequence, debates about cultural funding are all too often focused on the economic value of culture, and thus, to paraphrase Robert Hewison (1995, p. 313), the debates focus on value for money rather than money for value. It is the latter that is all too often neglected, needs to be brought to the fore and defended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-87
Number of pages6
JournalThe Books' Journal
Volume8
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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