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CMNS 230 (8)
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W2 Reading Notes Hesmondhalgh.docx

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Department
Communication
Course Code
CMNS 230
Professor
David Newman

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WEEK 2
CULTURAL INDUSTRIES IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: THE KEY FEATURES
Hesmondhalgh, 2013
6
6
THE PLACE OF CULTURAL PRODUCTION IN ECONOMIES AND SOCIETIES
Three eras in the development of cultural production in Europe:
1. Patronage and artisanal (middle ages to early 19th century): creators were
retained, protected, and supported by aristocrats or the Church and sold
goods directly to them; today: artisans
2. Market professionals (until late 19th century): artistic work sold to the
public via intermediaries (booksellers, publishers); late 19th century
intermediaries paid in royalties
67 3. Corporate professional (from early
20th century, expanding after
1950): commissioning of works
professionalized and organized,
direct employees of cultural
companies, new media
technologies (radio, television,
film) -> altered, new cultural
activity, rise of advertising  “era of
cultural production”; corporate =
number of people in unified group
Complex professional:
increasing complexity of division of
labour involved in making texts
most crucial feature of the era;
Box 2.1: Understanding transitions
Complex professional form dominated cultural production from 1950
onward but other forms continued to exist alongside
68 oPatronage, artisanal and market professional
residual forms (e.g. sponsorship of artists)
oState and public broadcasting
emergent form within early stages of Complex Professional Era
(CPE)
 complex professional is a heuristic device to describe the whole era of
cultural production from 1950s onwards (mix of different forms)
A QUESTION OF COMMODIFICATION
Major changes in cultural
production over the last four or five
centuries
1. Industrialisation: significant capital
investment, mechanised
production, division of labour
6
9
2. Commodification: transforming objects and services into commodities
(producing things not only for use but also for exchange); capitalism is a
system involving an extension of commodification
7Commodification preceded the industrialization of culture beginning in 20th
0 century, industrialization intensified and extended commodification of culture
Three ways/stages in which printed texts have been commodified
1. Commodification of material object (book) from 15th century onwards;
implications: profusion of books
2. Commodification of information contained within the material object from
18th century onwards; implications: copy right law, underpins ownership of
cultural commodities
3. Commodification of access to printed text information via electronic
databases and so on; consumption side problem: conflict between
7
1
commercial institutions and common ownership of/access to cultural
goods; production side problem: cultural labour goes unrecognized
What should be sold and what should not?
CPE is a new stage in the commodification and industrialisation of culture
BUSINESS OWNERSHIP AND STRUCTURE
Striking feature of CPE: presence of large corporations in the business of
cultural production;
oConglomerates, vertically integrated oligopolies, cross-media
ownership
7
2
Conglomeration
oAdopted by all industries, driven by need to be seen as achieving
growth
oFirst hit CIs in 1960s in the form of industrial and financial and
business corporations buying up and investing in media interests
o1960s and 1970s: large general conglomerates with diverse
interests; convergences and synergies;
73 small companies also multiplied:
scale of reproduction and circulation
of cultural goods grew, but conception
of cultural works took place on small
scale
Box 2.2 The Hollywood oligopoly across the CPE
8 companies dominated Hollywood 1925-1950
‘Big Five’ distributed films and owned cinemas
‘Little Three’ distributed films but did not own cinemas
US Supreme Court tried to break oligopoly of Big Five (no longer allowed
to own cinemas) -> Big Five subcontracted independent film production
companies -> became divisions of one large conglomerate
74 The Big Five
Paramount, now part of Viacom conglomerate
20th Century Fox, now part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation
Warner Brothers, merged with Time in 1990 (-> TimeWarner), merged with
AOL in 2000
Loew’s/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), merged with UA in 1981 (->
MGM/UA), bought by Sony in 2004
Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO), broken up in 1954

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Description
WEEK 2 CULTURAL INDUSTRIES IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: THE KEY FEATURES Hesmondhalgh, 2013 6 THE PLACE OF CULTURAL PRODUCTION IN ECONOMIES AND SOCIETIES 6 • Three eras in the development of cultural production in Europe: 1. Patronage and artisanal (middle ages to early 19 century): creators were retained, protected, and supported by aristocrats or the Church and sold goods directly to them; today: artthans 2. Market professionals (until late 19 century): artistic work sold to the public via intermediaries (booksellers, publishers); late 19 century intermediaries paid in royalties 67 3. Corporate professional (from early th 20 century, expanding after 1950): commissioning of works professionalized and organized, direct employees of cultural companies, new media technologies (radio, television, film) -> altered, new cultural activity, rise of advertising  “era of cultural production”; corporate = number of people in unified group • Complex professional: increasing complexity of division of labour involved in making texts most crucial feature of the era; Box 2.1: Understanding transitions • Complex professional form dominated cultural production from 1950 onward but other forms continued to exist alongside 68 o Patronage, artisanal and market professional residual forms (e.g. sponsorship of artists) o State and public broadcasting emergent form within early stages of Complex Professional Era (CPE)  complex professional is a heuristic device to describe the whole era of cultural production from 1950s onwards (mix of different forms) A QUESTION OF COMMODIFICATION • Major changes in cultural production over the last four or five centuries 1. Industrialisation: significant capital investment, mechanised production, division of labour 6 2. Commodification: transforming objects and services into commodities 9 (producing things not only for use but also for exchange); capitalism is a system involving an extension of commodification th 7 • Commodification preceded the industrialization of culture beginning in 20 0 century, industrialization intensified and extended commodification of culture • Three ways/stages in which printed texts have been commodified 1. Commodification of material object (book) from 15 century onwards; implications: profusion of books 2. Comthdification of information contained within the material object from 18 century onwards; implications: copy right law, underpins ownership of cultural commodities 3. Commodification of access to printed text information via electronic databases and so on; consumption side problem: conflict between 7 commercial institutions and common ownership of/access to cultural 1 goods; production side problem: cultural labour goes unrecognized • What should be sold and what should not? • CPE is a new stage in the commodification and industrialisation of culture BUSINESS OWNERSHIP AND STRUCTURE • Striking feature of CPE: presence of large corporations in the business of cultural production; o Conglomerates, vertically integrated oligopolies, cross-media ownership 7 • Conglomeration 2 o Adopted by all industries, driven by need to be seen as achieving growth o First hit CIs in 1960s in the form of industrial and financial and business corporations buying up and investing in media interests o 1960s and 1970s: large general conglomerates with diverse interests; convergences and synergies; 73 • small companies also multiplied: scale of reproduction and circulation of cultural goods grew, but conception of cultural works took place on small scale Box 2.2 The Hollywood oligopoly across the CPE • 8 companies dominated Hollywood 1925-1950 • ‘Big Five’ distributed films and owned cinemas • ‘Little Three’ distributed films but did not own cinemas • US Supreme Court tried to break oligopoly of Big Five (no longer allowed to own cinemas) -> Big Five subcontracted independent film production companies -> became divisions of one large conglomerate 74 The Big Five • Paramount, now part of Viacom conglomerate • 20 Century Fox, now part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation • Warner Brothers, merged with Time in 1990 (-> TimeWarner), merged with AOL in 2000 • Loew’s/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), merged with UA in 1981 (-> MGM/UA), bought by Sony in 2004 • Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO), broken up in 1954 The Little Three • Universal, taken over by MCA 1950s, Matsushita 1986, Seagram 1995, Vivendi 2000 • Columbia, taken over by Coca-Cola 1981, Sony 1988 • United Artists, taken over by Transamerica Corporation 1967, merged with MGM 1981 • Disney, not part of Hollywood oligopoly, distributed by UA and RKO, set up own distribution wing Buena Vista when RKO was broken up
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