1 Theories of Culture, Theories of Cultural Production Media and cultural economics 38 Communication studies 40 Critical political economy approaches 42 Which political economy? 44 Contradiction 45 The specific conditions of cultural industries 45 Tensions between production and consumption 46 Symbol creators 46 Information and entertainment 46 Historical variations in the social relations of cultural production 47 Sociology of culture and organisational and management studies 47 Radical media sociology/media studies 48 The problem of texts 50 Some achievements and limitations of cultural studies 51 Cultural studies approaches to media industries and media production 54 Industry produces culture, culture produces industry 55 ‘Production studies’: the cultural studies of media industries approach 55 Digital optimism 56 Creative industries analysis 57 Cultural economy 58 The approach taken here 58 02-Hesmondhalgh-4453-Ch-01.indd 37 20/11/2012 6:44:02 PM
38 Analytical Frameworks How have researchers approached the cultural industries? Which research traditions provide the most useful tools for addressing the central themes of this book – explaining and assessing patterns of change/continuity in the cultural industries since the late 1970s? The search is for approaches that address the fundamental issues outlined in the second section of the Introduction (‘Why do the cultural industries matter?’). We need, in other words, perspectives that are sensitive to the potential power of the cultural industries, as makers of texts, as systems for the management and market- ing of creative work, and as agents of change. We also need a combination of approaches that are able to provide analysis of the two parts of the term ‘the cultural industries’: the ‘culture’ part and the ‘industries’ part. I’ll begin with two traditions of analysis that promise, at first sight, to make valuable contributions to such an analysis, but are in fact compromised by their lack of attention to issues of power.