The Cultural Economy of Cities


An increasingly important fraction of contemporary economic activity is devoted to the production of cultural outputs, i.e. goods and services with high levels of aesthetic or semiotic content. This kind of economic activity is especially, and increasingly, associated with a number of large cities scattered over the globe. A conceptual account of this phenomenon is provided on the basis of an exploration of the character of placeā€specific forms of culture generation and the agglomerative tendencies of many kinds of cultural products industries. The empirical cases of Los Angeles and Paris are briefly discussed. The dynamics of production, distribution and location of major cultural products industries are also examined. The paper ends with a brief allusion to the modalities of spatial differentiation of culture in contemporary capitalism and to a prospective cultural politics.