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Amsterdam's Culture – Reflections from the Red Light District (8 May 2013)

16 April 2013

Analyzing Discourses of Culture in a Context of Policy and Reform

UCL SELCS/Dutch Research Seminar – all welcome!

Wednesday 8 May at 2pm in Foster Court, room 362

Kunstwerk op grond van de Wallen - CC by J.M. Luijt

Culture has become a hot topic among policymakers and planners, especially in cities, where reform and development are priorities on social and economic agendas. Culture is linked to creativity, with the cultural/creative industries becoming an important focus of policy. How culture is understood is quite unclear.

This research seminar begins with my proposition that it is necessary to consider new approaches for researching and analyzing contemporary culture. I introduce my methodological framework for simultaneously conceptualizing and analyzing culture in Amsterdam. 

The city is part of a trend that can be seen in many urban centers that are confronting reform and development: these processes revolve around strategies- or discourses- of culture expressed in terms of cultural and creative industries, economies and identities. My case studies include strategic city marketing and branding, and examples of brothels exchanged for creative spaces. My research addresses the dialogues between industries, groups of people and individuals who are implicated in the interventions, considering them as subjects and agents of a governmentality of discourses of culture.

I will be asking you to forget what “culture” means and start questioning how it becomes meaningful through discourses that make culture meaningful and significant in new ways. With this approach, I will suggest that we can begin to construct a conceptual framework around culture. Piece by piece, we can construct a puzzle that places culture at the center of policies, industries, practices, identities and economies today.

Gail Zuckerwise, PhD student

Page last modified on 16 apr 13 12:05 by Ulrich Tiedau