Mark Banks: The Values of Cultural Work: ethics, interests and motivations in the cultural and creative industries

Cultural Value Project Blog

Cultural Industries, Work and Values

My review examined the values embedded in cultural work in the cultural industries (the professional worlds of the arts, media and design) drawing on an interdisciplinary social science literature.


It was first argued that the cultural industries foundationally suspend on a productive, dialectical tension between an economic and a cultural value, broadly defined. This provides the context in which cultural work – the organized production of cultural goods – takes place. Increasingly, however, it was noted that the economic value that underpins the cultural industries is becoming relatively dominant, and now – under an advanced ‘creative economy’ logic – appears to threaten or diminish the other cultural (and political) values that are also inherent to cultural work. The kind of economistic thinking that tends to seek ever more efficient means of managing ‘creatives’ and creative production, now does so in ways that increasingly undermine cultural…

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