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

Hetherington, Stephen (2014). The rationales of New Labour's cultural policy 1997-2001. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain


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