Globalization and cultural production

Authored by: Denise D. Bielby

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines how globalization affects the structures, mechanisms, and dynamics of cultural production and distribution when transnational organizations expand into less familiar cultural locales. Cultural production as an industrial system specializes in products with high symbolic value that are subject to unpredictable cycles of demand and tremendous business uncertainty, complicating implementation of rational, bureaucratic practices and control over creative labor, and necessitating specialized, labor-intensive approaches to product dissemination. Scholarship that focuses on meso-level analysis reveals that transnational organizations must adapt to complex interorganizational dependencies, cultural policies designed to protect cultural autonomy and authority, the synergies of competitive regional production centers, and unique national institutional logics about markets. Challenges emanating from ideological nationalism, differences in business relationships, and political cultures that foreground policy over other institutional mandates call for reconsideration of Western assumptions that saturate thinking about modern organizational forms. The chapter concludes with considerations to guide focused theoretical integration.

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