15th September 2014

Cultural Intermediaries Reader Now Out

The Cultural Intermediaries Reader, edited by Jennifer Smith Maguire and Julian Matthews, as David Wright writes over at Culture Matters,  “provides a comprehensive and critical overview of an influential concept in theoretical and empirical research on the creative industries. Identified by Pierre Bourdieu as strategically significant figures in in the field of culture in the France of the 1960s, ‘cultural intermediaries’ were members of those then ‘new’ occupations – advertising, marketing, public relations etc. which were concerned with the supply of ‘symbolic goods and services’ and engaged in the processes of identifying, shaping and circulating tastes for new products and lifestlyes. In the fifty years since, such industries have become even more significant, both in their relative scale and in their apparent sophistication. Workers in them have also, through such assumed characteristics as their creativity, dynamism, and their blurring of distinctions between work and leisure become models for workers in other industries. An accompanying valorisation of youth subcultures, new technologies and emerging forms of urban living has appeared to place these kinds of workers in the vanguard of social and cultural life – although some well-placed satire has also helped to prick the more grandiose claims made for their significance. The essays in this collection provide a timely critique of the original concept and also point to some developments of the theoretical language, drawing from the now far more established field of cultural economy which has complicated the distance between cultural production and consumption which the figure of an intermediary depends on.”

Contributions from the editors,  from Charisma folk including Liz Mcfall, Sean Nixon and Liz Moor, from David Wright himself together with Victoria Durrer and Dave O’Brien , Charles Fairchild, Caroline Hodges and Lee Edwards, Aidan Kelly, Tania Lewis, Toby Miller, Richard E.Ocejo, Lynne Pettinger, and Lise Skov make for a comprehensive collection.