Cultural clusters and cultural industries in China
Anthony FUNG and John ERNI
AbstractThrough examining the development and the nature of the new cultural districts in China, namely, “clusters of Beijing,” this paper attempts to identify the characteristics of and critically evaluate the existing models of culture clusters in China. Obviously, these cultural clusters are seen as a united state effort to assist, develop and boost the so-called cultural industries, including game, animation, comic, software, science and technology and so forth. However, with the clusters of Beijing as a case study, in this paper we argue that in the course of development, the state interests and the authorities’ local (e.g. district) interest are often prioritized over the culture or the local interest. There are also tensions and contradictions among various interest groups on different levels of operations of these cultural clusters. In sum, apart from enhancing the private creative industries, developing the national cultural economy, or revitalizing the old industries as in the cluster models of many western countries, economic interests, political powers of the districts and soft power of the nation can be overriding interests behind the booming cultural clusters in China.
Keywords: culture clusters, cultural industries, China, model of Clusters
Anthony Y.H. Fung is Director and Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests focus on popular culture and cultural studies, gender and youth identity, cultural industries and policy, and new media studies. He is currently working on a project on Asian creative and game Industries and cultural policy with a focus on China and Hong Kong. His recent books include Global Capital, Local Culture: Transnational Media Corporations in China (Peter Lang, 2008) and Asian Popular Culture: the Global (Dis)continuity (Routledge, 2013).
John Nguyet Erni is Professor in the Department of Humanities & Creative Writing at Hong Kong Baptist University, after having served as Chair of the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong (2010-13). He has published widely on critical public health, Chinese consumption of transnational culture, queer media, youth popular consumption in Hong Kong and Asia, and human rights criticism. His books include Understanding South Asian Minorities in Hong Kong: A Critical Multicultural Approach (with Lisa Leung, HKUP, 2014), Cultural Studies of Rights: Critical Articulations(Routledge, 2011), Internationalizing Cultural Studies: An Anthology (with Ackbar Abbas, Blackwell, 2005),Asian Media Studies: The Politics of Subjectivities (with Siew Keng Chua, Blackwell, 2005), and Unstable Frontiers: Technomedicine and the Cultural Politics of “Curing” AIDS(Minnesota, 1994).Currently, he is completing a book project on the legal modernity of rights (forthcoming; Ashgate UK).