Lexicon for the Provisional Future(s)

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(de)culturalization

August 30th, 2007

The culturalization of the economy or, conversely, the economization of culture points to an obvious neo-liberal effort to subdue “culture” to the mechanisms of the free-market economy in the sense of. The principles of free-market competitiveness and entrepreneurship are to be introduced to the once privileged sphere of artistic and intellectual production. This means not only simply bringing market relations into the “sphere of culture”, but is more about establishing the practices of entrepreneurship at the individual level – at the level of the subject. What is actually happening is that individuals educated or self-educated in the fields of art, theory and culture in general have a certain privileged access to so-called “cultural capital” – a set of symbols, images, notions, ideas, representations of historical events and persons, art-works, etc. The cultural worker today has to be a cultural entrepreneur at the same time: one who “creatively” – meaning profitably – uses the “cultural capital” which is at hand. In another words, the cultural producer is supposed to be a “funky businessman” in contemporary “karaoke capitalism”, transforming this raw material of “culture” into little more than temporary entertainment.

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