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Comunicar Journal 36: Television and its New Expressions (Vol. 18 - 2011)

From cultural industries to entertainment and creative industries. The boundaries of the cultural field


This article analyzes the current trend towards dilution of the concept of «cultural industries» and the increasing usage of terms such as «entertainment industries», «leisure industries» or even «creative industries». We review recent specialized literature, identify overlapping between the above terms and conclude that this change is a new turning point in the concept of culture, closely associated with new spaces and times for its enjoyment, with the technological evolution of cultural products, changes in the ownership of their suppliers as well as with the shifting roles of author, actor and spectator. To understand this change, we identify and explain three factors: 1) from the strong, closed materiality and textuality of the classic cultural product to the malleability and convertibility permitted by new technologies; 2) from an essentially contemplative, reverent cultural experience to participant experimentation and play; 3) from a desire for permanence and intensity to constitutive contingency and superficiality. We conclude by suggesting wider implications that go beyond the scope of this work: the melting pot that blurs the boundaries between culture and entertainment, which undermines the autonomy of the disputed cultural «field» situated between work and leisure (more pleasant than the first, more demanding than the second), and which also erases the boundaries between cultural entertainment and work (a merged environment of «otium and negotium», «homo ludens» and «homo laborans»).