Sunday, 14 October 2012

Struggles for Distinction…

The definitions of the bill, "task Creative Scotland with making real and bringing to fruition the value and benefits of the arts and culture in Scotland. The value and benefits referred to in the Bill include . . . also benefits in terms of unlocking creative and entrepreneurial potential . . . Creative Scotland might do this, for example, by encouraging commercial banks to better understand the economic potential of the arts and culture."

I think the danger is in assigning value judgments in contradiction to what CS is tasked by Scottish government to do.

While we complain about the 'how' we also need to be asking about the 'why'?
"So, as we say that this ideology is failing, I beg to differ. I actually believe it has been enormously successful, enormously successful, just not on the terms that we learn about…"
Generally, I sense an indifference to how things really are, and why that may be so.

How to account for our repeated undermining of the very democracy we claim we seek?

Maybe it's a question of the processes by which whose creative labour gets valorised, whose is defended and expanded, and whose devalorised in our struggles for distinction?

If folk had acted against their seeming immediate self-interest when there was the chance to make a more fundamental difference, in better forming the bill towards more democratic and less economistic ends, instead of carving out exception for themselves, then it's less likely we'd be here right now.

I suggest we're caught in the midst of various forms of neoliberal enclosure and restructuring, which is seen by competing individuals, networks and agencies to offer openings for a range of agendas seeking to gain purchase on institutional structures/ bureaucracies. 

It's this meshing of egoistic interests that effaces any significant debate of the underlying antagonisms in Scotland's cultural policy -- how it significantly differs from, say, Sweden's earlier, more social democratic policy before neoliberal restructuring. 

We won't even collectively acknowledge such basic tensions between us in our inability to depict the present. So how do we call it out for all of us to see, and how do we overcome our own protective self-interests when solidarity has always been a political process?

We're only 'victims' in this if we deny the personal opportunism that led us here as we try to continually game the system to our own advantage -- jealously and meanly guarding microscopic secret knowledge from those outside of our own particular constellations of opportunity.
"While it is possible in theory to abstract out the moral from the instrumental and the conscious from the habitual, in practice behaviour is often shaped by mixed motives and influences. If we do consciously decide on a course of action it is often both because we feel it is the right thing to do in itself and because it happens to have beneficial consequences for us.  . . . One of the most important contributions of cultural studies has been in analyzing how judgements of taste are related to the social position of actors and associated with struggles for distinction."

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