Handbook of Cultural and Creative Industries in China
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Handbook of Cultural and Creative Industries in China

Edited by Michael Keane

China is at the crux of reforming, professionalising, and internationalising its cultural and creative industries. These industries are at the forefront of China’s move towards the status of a developed country. In this comprehensive Handbook, international experts including leading Mainland scholars examine the background to China’s cultural and creative industries as well as the challenges ahead. The chapters represent the cutting-edge of scholarship, setting out the future directions of culture, creativity and innovation in China. Combining interdisciplinary approaches with contemporary social and economic theory, the contributors examine developments in art, cultural tourism, urbanism, digital media, e-commerce, fashion and architectural design, publishing, film, television, animation, documentary, music and festivals.
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Chapter 35: A comparative perspective on the industrialization of art in the Republican period in Shanghai and today’s creative industry clusters

Jane Zheng


Much of the current work on cultural and creative industries in China begins in the 1990s and focuses on the shift of state-managed culture towards the market. However, there is an important legacy that is often overlooked. This chapter looks at the role of intellectuals and creative workers in Shanghai. It traces the development of applied and commercial art in modern China to a group of artists and art scholars during the Republican period (1912–49). An increase in the number of art-related studies during the 1920s and 1930s pioneered awareness of the relationship between art and industry in China. Successive wars and political movements disrupted these endeavours. Then in the late 1990s the concept of ‘industrialized’ art and culture remerged within a globalizing policy framework of ‘culture as industry’ and creative industries. Shanghai, perhaps more than any other city, witnessed a concentration of workers in so-called ‘creative industry clusters’ (chuangyi jijuqu). Many of these clusters have targeted large-scale commercial organizations with a view to profiting from culture. In this chapter I argue that they have done little to help foster awareness of art and culture and have not served local communities of intellectuals and creative workers. I show how the contrast between the Republican period and the contemporary era problematizes contemporary policy in relation to cultural and creative industries.

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