Tag Archives: social capital

‘Blurry by Design: Public Matters on Social Enterprise’ on KCET Artbound

I had the great fortune of working with Public Matters last year and learned a lot, much of which I didn’t expect. Namely, as I explain in this KCET Artbound post, Blurry by Design: Public Matters on Social Enterprise, how an activist art collaborative strategically blurs the lines between the antithetical institutional logics of the market and social movement to green East Los Angeles’ food desert.

I had fun the whole time because they’re fun the whole time. (Yes, even with institutional logics!)


East L.A. Renaissance Academy Student researchers in the Toxic Edibles Analysis Lab from the video “Have You Noticed How Much Junk Food We Eat?”
From left: Jocelyn Herrera, Martha Meija, Omar Vargas, Amisadai Hernandez.



Leave a comment

Filed under Community Development, Media Arts

Currid, E. (2010). Symposium Introduction—Art and Economic Development: New Directions for the Growth of Cities and Regions. _Journal of Planning Education and Research_, 29(3):257-261.

In this symposium introduction, Currid identifies the scholarly subtopics and various authors’ findings regarding arts and economic development, as well as themes common to all of them.

For the scholarly subtopics: (1) there exists an “uncomfortable subnarrative” (259) that while the arts might help places flourish, those newly-minted places might not help the artists; (2) social capital and solidarity are “unintended benefits” of the arts; (3) there is a tension between economic growth and cultural legacy/historic preservation; (4) some telecommunications-enabled artists are still able to cluster in specific cities; (5) that even in cities with vastly different geographical urban forms, the arts co-locate in likewise formations, “around high-value infrastructure” (259); (6) that the success of a new flagship cultural institution hinges on specific contextual factors — the best projects express the area’s own artistic “distinction” (Markusen & Schrock, 2006); (7) arts subsidies should not underestimate the stickiness of cultural industries — revenue and job growth is in fact negatively impacted in states with film subsidies; and (8) we still don’t know if cultural planning is best served by housing, economic development, or cultural policymaking.

And the recurring findings: (1) most cultural policy is city, not state-driven; (2) said cultural policy is implemented by city planners, not urban designers or cultural planners (though they might be better suited); and (3) we still lack a concrete causal link between arts and economic development.

Leave a comment

Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Cultural Economy, Minor Field, Research Fields

Currid, E. (2007). How art and culture happen in New York. _Journal of the American Planning Association_. 73(4).

Using recent scholarship on the great value creative capital provides to postindustrial economies (Florida, 220; Lloyd, 2006; Markusen & Schrock, 2006) as her starting point, Currid explores the exact mechanism by which the creative industries operate and thrive in New York. Subsequent to 80 in-depth interviews with cultural producers and gatekeepers found primarily through snowballing, Currid determined that “being there” matters in material ways. Attendance at nighttime and industry events increases opportunities for collaboration with other artists, obtaining work, and establishing support systems.

Social network further provides artists with “peer review,” “flexible career paths,” additional forums for selling their artwork, and straight-up inspiration. Finally, locating in New York offers easier access to others, media promotion outlets, and association with the New York brand.

Currid notes the system’s darker side comprises an overemphasis on socialization, corruption in the approbation and promotion process, a skewed expectation of success subsequent to media presence, a too-close link between creativity and commerce, and the increased expectation of advanced degrees among artists.

Her recommendations are of the stand-aside variety: allow cultural producers to form their own creative spaces, create pro-cultural nightlife zones, provide low-cost housing in creative communities as sanctuaries in likely-to-gentrify neighborhoods (Currid doesn’t say this here, but artists are directly linked with the gentrification of their chosen neighborhoods), and support the cultural economy as a whole both through pro-work grantmaking and punishing industry transgressions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Cultural Economy, Minor Field, Research Fields

Buckingham, D. (2003). _Media education: Literacy, learning, and contemporary culture_. Cambridge and London: Polity.

Here Buckingham writes an urgent call for media education. He cites his frustrations with the lack of progress in policy; the enduring and misplaced association of media education with creative curricula, rather than being linked with education more generally; and an already low and diminishing regard for teachers. The book has four parts: the essential objectives of media education, a “state of the art” address about media education, a more detailed view of media education pedagogy, and the challenges/opportunities.

For Buckingham, childhood (just like everything else) is not homogeneous. Meaning and experience are contingent upon other social factors, such as gender, race/ethnicity, social class, geographic location, etc. Likewise, blockages to media democratization are political and economic, not just technological. We experience all these things at unique positions in our social terrain, social field (Bourdieu, 1989). Buckingham’s research suggests “there is a widening gap between children’s worlds outside school and the emphases of many education systems” (32) and laments we “may see the emergence of an educational ‘underclass’ that is effectively excluded from access, not merely to economic capital but to social and cultural capital as well” (203). An late 90s UK study determined that middle-class kids, the “technology rich” (181) were about three times more likely to use multimedia computers at home than their working-class counterparts, the “technology poor” (ibid). Lacking access to technologies, these children suffer insufficient access “to cultural forms of expression and communication” (183).

The “so-called ‘creative industries’ (193) benefits extend beyond the economic. Consider the self esteem, the uncovering of unknown gifts that can “bring about the social and economic regeneration of disadvantaged communities” (ibid). Still, the differences between those who already have social and educational capital and those who do not is stark from the start, and this has become all the more dire since education is now perceived primarily as a consumer commodity, with its agonizing and useless standardized examinations.

“…key point here is that…potential benefits of digital technologies will not be realized without informed intervention on the part of teachers and…of peers… [There is a] need for reflection, deliberation, and dialogue” (187).

Buckingham advocates for multiliteracy, noting it’s not just about the plurality of modes of communication — and to be sure, there is a plurality — but the “inherently social nature of literacy” (38). Media education is the process of instruction and media literacy is the outcome. Media literacy comprises: reading, writing, the study of production, of representation, of audiences, and language. Media “intervene” — they provide the mode of communication, the context, and the content — and media production requires collaboration. For Buckingham, creative production’s distinct “social, collaborative” (Becker, 1984) function, hence, instruction, is more important than the “Romantic” (137) arguments for self-expression. He cares more about the social.

In the classroom, Buckingham finds: (1) Contextual analysis allows us to recognize the interconnections between forms of media language, as well as production and audience. (2) Simulations putting students in the role of media producer results not in a parroting of mainstream media but a critical distancing.

This is more than just “functional literacy…. For want of a better term, media literacy is a form of critical literacy) (37-38).

Leave a comment

Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Media Literacy, Minor Field, Research Fields

Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson, ed. _Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education_. New York: Greenwood.

In this essay, Bourdieu lists the three “guises” of capital and elucidates how they collect, operate, and exchange in the process that determines an agent’s position in the social structure. The first, economic, is readily converted into money and sometimes institutionalized in the form of property rights. The second, cultural capital, can occur in three forms: the embodied state (i.e. “long-lasting dispositions of the mind and body” [p. 47]); the objectified state (e.g. books, instruments, tools indicative of education and training); and the institutionalized form (i.e. educational qualifications which confer “entirely original properties on the cultural capital which it is presumed to guarantee” [p. 47]).

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Community Development, Cultural Economy, Major Field, Research Fields

Bourdieu, P. (1985). The social space and the genesis of groups. _Theory and Society_, 14(6).

Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher. Coming from the Genetic structuralism and critical sociology schools, his main interests were power, symbolic violence, historical structures, and subjective agents. His noteworthy ideas comprise: cultural capital, the field, habitus, social capital, reflexivity, symbolic violence, and symbolic capital.

To Bourdieu, challenging Marxism is vitally important for contemporary thinking because “we are so impregnated” (p. 195) with it that we overlook its structurally embedded (and in the end, paradoxical) flaws. His hypothesis is simple. “Constructing a theory of the social space presupposes a series of breaks with Marxist theory” (p. 195). To elucidate, he uses three main points.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Community Development, Cultural Economy, Major Field, Research Fields