The power of art, the power of entertainment

McKee, Alan (2013) The power of art, the power of entertainment. Media, Culture and Society, 35(6), pp. 759-770.

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The question of the relationship between culture and power continues to exercise researchers. In this paper I argue that it is useful to consider the differences between ‘art’ and ‘entertainment’ as systems of culture, each involving a distinct set of power relationships between producers and audiences. Art wants to change audiences; entertainment wants to be changed by audiences. From these different starting points a series of differences unfold in the power possessed by producers and audiences. Artists pride themselves in not involving the audience in the process of making art. By contrast, entertainment wants audiences to contribute to the making of texts. As to the question of who controls the range of what forms of culture are available, it seems that entertainment consumers – unlike art consumers – are ill-disciplined. Historical evidence demonstrates that if legal corporate providers do not offer the kinds of entertainment they want, they will turn to illegal sources. The different ways in which ‘art’ and ‘entertainment’ function as cultural systems suggest that we must rethink our positions on ‘media power’.

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ID Code: 59454
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: art, entertainment, Lawrence Levine, media, power, structural power
DOI: 10.1177/0163443713491518
ISSN: 0163-4437
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: © The Author(s) 2013. Copyright 2013 SAGE Publications Ltd.
Copyright Statement: Reprints and permissions:
Deposited On: 28 Apr 2013 23:21
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2014 14:18

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