Edited by Michael Keane
Chapter 2: Doing Chinese cultural industries: a reflection on the Blue Book syndrome and remedy paradigm
Few buzzwords in China today can compete with the cultural industries (wenhua chanye). The theme of many government-subsidized research projects, the cultural industries appear in the speeches of government officials and shape cultural policy and regulations at both central and local government levels. Often viewed as a ‘sunrise industry’ (zhaoyang chanye), the cultural industries have ignited public desire and passion for the revival of a ‘strong cultural China’ (wenhua qiangguo) riding on the back of national economic resurgence over the past three decades. More significantly, the discourse of wenhua chanye has transformed the humanities in Chinese universities since 2000, the year that witnessed its official elevation to a national development slogan at the Fifth Plenum of the 15th Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee. Higher education institutions subsequently initiated ‘cultural industries’ majors at undergraduate level and research was conducted at postgraduate and doctoral levels. From 2001 onwards a steady stream of ‘Blue Books’ (lanpi shu) appeared – mostly development reports commissioned by editorial panels made up of industry practitioners and professionals, academics, and cultural industry-related officials.
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