The value of value
in Cultural value in twenty-first-century England
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The account of cultural value provided by ministerial statements and groups of arts enthusiasts gives some indication of the difficulties involved in arriving at a stable definition of cultural value in twenty-first-century England. The tension between ideas of value arrived at through consensus and those arrived at by systematic analysis was seldom a question of explicit disagreement about the value of this or that object. Steven Connor, for example, begins his analysis of Theory and Cultural Value by addressing head-on 'the conflict between absolute and relative value'. Connor's highly abstract concept of the universal nature of the tendency to value does not itself offer an absolute value. The gap between principles and practice is as fundamental to the nature of value as the gap between the absolute and the contingent: indeed, it may be the most profound version of it.

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