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The rationales of New Labour's cultural policy 1997-2001

Hetherington, Stephen (2014)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The cultural policies of New Labour, devised by the first British government department of "culture", the DCMS, have been noted for their conceptual inconsistencies and unsupportable claims, yet the rationales behind them have never been adequately explained. This thesis argues that, when seen from an historical perspective, the intentions of the Secretary of State, Chris Smith, and the DCMS in fact followed a consistent logic by which cultural policy was re-conceptualised to take DCMS into the heart of government where social and economic concerns dominated. Building on the principle of cross-government policy and the "pillars" of excellence, access, education, and the creative economy, DCSM claimed a foundational role for culture in propagating the roots of economic growth formed around theories of social capital. In doing so, it shifted the traditional balance between the public and private realms, compromised traditions of laissez-faire, instituted new mechanisms of governance, and marginalised the arts. The thesis concludes that Chris Smith and the DCMS sought power by arguing a role for culture in social and economic policy initiatives; an ambition that could not be achieved with policies for culture in its traditional meaning. The conceptual incoherence that resulted was ignored as insignificant to its purposes.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Buckler, Steve and Kerr, Peter (1962-)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Department of Political Science & International Studies
Subjects:JF Political institutions (General)
JN101 Great Britain
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:5145
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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