Forms, Fields and Forces: an exploration of state governance of the creative industries in South West England
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
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This thesis explores the forms, fields and forces that relate to state governance of ‘the creative industries’ in South West England (1997-2010). Focusing on regional agencies that were involved in delivering Labour’s agenda for a ‘creative economy and elements of Creative Britain (DCMS et al., 2008), questions of multi-scalar governance, spatial-temporal ‘fix’ and re-scaling state space (Goodwin et al, 2005; Jessop, 2007) are examined. Despite the reported economic importance of ‘the creative industries’ (The Work Foundation, 2007), ‘joined up’ governance at the regional scale proved difficult to manage. A congested and turbulent institutional landscape at national and regional level was compounded by lack of fit between cultural and economic policies (Jayne, 2005; O’Connor, 2007; Pratt, 2005). Towards the end of Labour’s rule, Government fiscal reform and economic recession further threatened both economic and cultural 'state spaces' (Brenner, 2004) and by mid 2010 the regional experiment was over. Using a multi-level and in-depth case study approach, the thesis looks at how ‘historically specific configurations of state space are produced and incessantly reworked’ (Brenner, 2004: 76). Following discourse on ‘new state space’ (Jones and Jessop, 2010), a political geography of a state landscape is explored. Of particular significance, and highlighting the problematic interface between the economic and cultural spheres, are Culture South West, South West Screen and the South West Creative Economy Partnership. An argument is made that state bodies are both reactive and proactive mediators, whose ‘imaginaries of power’such as ‘the creative industries’, are hegemonic devices that evolve over time and space. Whether intentional or serendipity, the effects of structural and processual inter-relations are occasional ‘moments’ (Jones, 2009a) of coherence when governance success prevails. These moments are critical to state bodies for (re)producing hierarchies, (re)affirming power relations and (re)aligning political goals.
PhD in Geography