Pushing on...

By Adrian Ellis

Thought experiment: we have a policy framework - expressive lives - and we apply it to a specific area - in this case increasing concentration of ownership in the music business - and we conclude that it looks like a bad thing because on balance it reduces opportunity for voice and access to heritage.  Where do we go from here? Who are the agents who will press this cause?

A fundamental challenge is the imbalance between producer interests in the broad domain under discussion and those of consumer/individual participants.  Whether we are talking about traditional 501(c)(3) land or the broader territory staked out by Bill, there is very little by way of infrastructure or organized capacity through which to pursue the agenda he describes. This is, of course, why that agenda has not been pursued.  I am interested to know who the natural allies are and how one might create a collation of interest around the expressive life.  Is this like the rambling associations in nineteenth century Britain who opened up rights of way in closed rural estates to working class walkers; or the Slow Food movement who have sought to reclaim quality of life around conviviality? Who are the natural advocates of the expressive life agenda (or whatever name resonates most effectively)?  Whoever it is, there is a struggle ahead, as late capitalism a l'Americaine, marked by high concentrations of wealth, ownership and political power,  seems arranged in a way that is antithetical to the agenda.

This is not of course a reason for setting the agenda aside - in many ways it makes it all the more urgent, as so many market and social forces encourage cultural passivity and an a-historical perspective. But it does make me want to look around other areas or people and groups with whom the expressive lifers could make common cause.

January 27, 2010 4:54 AM | |


This Conversation Are the terms "Art" and "Culture" tough enough to frame a public policy carve-out for the 21st century? Are the old familiar words, weighted with multiple meanings and unhelpful preconceptions, simply no longer useful in analysis or advocacy? In his book, Arts, Inc., Bill Ivey advances "Expressive Life" as a new, expanded policy arena - a frame sufficiently robust to stand proudly beside "Work Life," "Family Life," "Education," and "The Environment." Is Ivey on the right track, or more

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rock culture approximately
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Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
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lies like truth
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For immediate release: the arts are marketable
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No genre is the new genre
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Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
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Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
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The Unanswered Question
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Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
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