Employing Cornish Cultures for Community Resilience
Kennedy, Neil Patrick Martyn
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Employing Cornish Cultures for Community Resilience. Can cultural distinctiveness be used to strengthen community bonds, boost morale and equip and motivate people socially and economically? Using the witness of people in Cornwall and comparative experiences, this discussion combines a review of how cultures are commodified and portrayed with reflections on well-being and ‘emotional prosperity’. Cornwall is a relatively poor European region with a cultural identity that inspires an established ethno-cultural movement and is the symbolic basis of community awareness and aspiration, as well as the subject of contested identities and representations. At the heart of this is an array of cultures that is identified as Cornish, including a distinct post-industrial inheritance, the Cornish Language and Celtic Revivalism. Cultural difference has long been a resource for cultural industries and tourism and discussion of using culture for regeneration has accordingly concentrated almost exclusively on these sectors but an emergent ‘regional distinctiveness agenda’ is beginning to present Cornish cultures as an asset for use in branding and marketing other sectors. All of these uses ultimately involve commodification but culture potentially has a far wider role to play in fostering economic, social, cultural and environmental resilience. This research therefore uses multidisciplinary approaches to broaden the discussion to include culture’s primary emotional and social uses. It explores the possibility that enhancing these uses could help to tackle economic and social disadvantage and to build more cohesive communities. The discussion centres on four linked themes: multiple forms of capital; discourse, narrative and myth; human need, emotion and well-being; representation and intervention. Cultural, social, symbolic and human capital are related to collective status and well-being through consideration of cultural practices, repertoires and knowledge. These are explored with discussion of accompanying representations and discourses and their social, emotional and economic implications so as to allow tentative suggestions for intervention in policy and representation. A key conclusion is that culture may be used proactively to increase ‘emotional capital’.
European Social Fund.
PhD in Cornish Studies
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