The blog may have been dormant for a while, yet it has found a firm place in my mental household. Attending a conference of cultural economists only strengthened the feeling that this is an event I just have to report on, like it or not.
The conference took place in Kyoto, Japan. Organizer was the Association of Cultural Economics International (ACEI) which has held similar conferences biannually since 1979, this being the 17th event. I have attended all these conferences since 1986, and organized one in 1994 in Witten. Traditionally, the venues alternated between Europe and North-America, this was the first one held in Asia. About 300 people attended, almost all of them presented papers, the majority were young scholars. This was the largest attendance ever, mainly due to two reasons: one is the extension of academic interest beyond the traditional cultural field to all the branches of the creative industries and beyond, for instance tourism and gambling. This is a development which was criticized by some of the older speakers, because they see a dilution from the original focus of the association. The second one is the interest of economists in Japan, China and Corea in cultural economics, even though the meaning given to that term is distinctly different from the meaning used in Western – well – culture. For instance, I heard the report of an offical from the Japanese ministry of Trade and Industry on the development of a statistical framework for monitoring the creative industries. Not only do the Japanese intend to include the food industry, they would even like to go further and include products with any kind of experience characteristic, like motorcycles, as long as they are made in Japan, and thus products of Japanese culture. That, of course, would constitute a much greater dilution of focus. On the other hand, given my wider interest in the notion of culture, it prompted some insight which I would like to share.Read More