INTRODUCTION
Atarecentinternationalmeetingofculturalpolicyspecialists,a unesco offi-
cial lamented that culture is invoked to solve problems that previously were
the province of economics and politics. Yet, she continued, the only way to
convince government and business leaders that it is worth supporting cultural
activity is to argue that it will reduce social conflicts and lead to economic de-
velopment (Yúdice 2000b: 10). This book aims to provide an understanding,
and a series of illustrations, of how culture as an expedient gained legitimacy
anddisplacedorabsorbedotherunderstandingsofculture.Permitmetostress
at the outset that I am not reprising Adorno and Horkheimer’s critique of the
commodity and its instrumentalization. As I explain in chapter 1, culture-as-
resource is much more than commodity; it is the lynchpin of a new epistemic
framework in which ideology and much of what Foucault called disciplinary
society (i.e., the inculcation of norms in such institutions as education, medi-
cine, and psychiatry) are absorbed into an economic or ecological rationality,
such that management, conservation, access, distribution, and investment—
in ‘‘culture’’ and the outcomes thereof—take priority.
Culture-as-resource can be compared with nature-as-resource, particularly
as both trade on the currencyof diversity.Think of
biodiversity,1
including tra-
ditional and scientific knowledge thereof, which, according to the ‘‘Conven-
tion on Biological Diversity,’’ must be fostered and conserved to ‘‘[maintain]
its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future genera-
tions’’ (‘‘Convention’’ 1992:5).Taking into consideration the proclivity of pri-
vate enterprise to seek profit at all costs, the tendency of developed nations to
have an advantage over developing countries, the greater legitimacy of scien-
tificovertraditionalknowledge,everincreasingpollution,andsoon,themajor
issue at hand becomes management of resources, knowledges, technologies,
and the risks entailed thereof, defined in myriad ways.
Culture, for most people, does not evoke the same sense of life-threatening
urgency, although it is true that many lament the ravages that tourism, fast
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