How We Value Arts and Culture

John Holden


Culture should no longer be thought of as a set of binary oppositions between elite/popular, refined/debased, individual/mass, high/low. Instead, we need to conceive of culture in three highly interrelated spheres: publicly funded, commercial, and home-made, each with its own definition, gatekeepers and critical discourse. The huge increase in home-made culture over the past thirty years, mainly but not entirely fuelled by the internet, has changed the possibilities for all three spheres. How culture is valued depends on the perspective and interests of different groups. Culture can be valued for its intrinsic, instrumental and institutional values. These values are complementary, not mutually exclusive, and each has its own language and way of being measured and narrated.

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Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management; ISSN 1449-1184
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