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Globalized Arts: The Entertainment Economy and Cultural Identity

by J. P. Singh

Our interactive world can take a cultural product, such as a Hollywood film, Bollywood song, or Latin American telenovela, and transform it into a source of cultural anxiety. What does this artwork say about the artist or the world she works in? How will these artworks evolve in the global market? Film, music, television, and the performing arts enter the same networks of exchange as other industries, and the anxiety they produce informs a fascinating area of study not only for art and culture but also for global politics. Focusing on the confrontation between global politics and symbolic creative expression, J. P. Singh shows how, by integrating themselves into international markets, entertainment industries give rise to far-reaching cultural anxieties. With examples from Hollywood, Bollywood, French grand opera, Latin American television, West African music, postcolonial literature, and even the Thai sex trade, Singh cites both the attempt to address cultural discomfort and the effort to deny entertainment acts as cultural. He connects creative expression to clashes between national identities, and he details the effect of cultural policies, such as institutional patronage and economic incentives, on the making and incorporation of art into the global market. Ultimately, Singh shows how these issues impact the debates on cultural trade being waged by the World Trade Organization, UNESCO, and the developing world.

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