Government and the values of culture
in Cultural value in twenty-first-century England
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This chapter shows the powerful influence of policy discourse on the concept of cultural value. The phrase 'cultural value' encapsulated a way of talking about culture that focussed less on its social and economic benefits, and more on its 'essential' qualities. Central to this movement was the 2004 paper in which the then Secretary of State, Tessa Jowell, launched a search for a new language of value. The social goals of boosting 'educational attainment' and reducing 'crime' are still present in Jowell's account, alongside other instrumental benefits. Following Jowell's report, and Arts Council England's (ACE's) first attempt to measure the value of culture through a 'public value' survey, the first decade of the twenty-first century saw rapid transformation in the government discourse of cultural value. Shakespeare is a high-status cultural object whose leading theatrical institution is in receipt of regular, major government funding via ACE.


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