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The Outside Interests of the UK Cultural Agencies. Dave Griffiths University Of Manchester/CRESC. Quangos (Quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisatons).

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the outside interests of the uk cultural agencies

The Outside Interests of the UK Cultural Agencies

Dave Griffiths

University Of Manchester/CRESC

quangos quasi autonomous non governmental organisatons
Quangos(Quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisatons)

“the large range of bodies of appointed, non-elected, non-civil service people running things, overseeing things, or advising about things, and usually controlling or spending public money”

(Marr: 1995)

quango literature
Quango Literature
  • Skelcher and Davis’ (1995) demographical study into local board members
  • Robinson and Shaw’s (1999) demographial study into North East local board members
  • Both found that white middle-aged, middle-class men were The norm
  • Both found evidence of a self-appointing local elite
types of capital
Types of capital
  • Social Capital – associations and networks with individuals and institutions
  • Cultural Capital – knowledge of cultural practices and norms
  • Economic Capital – ownership of cash, property or other economical position
  • Symbolic Capital – reputation, skills and expertise respected by others
elite studies
Elite studies
  • Useem’s 1970’s research into the corporate worlds ‘Inner Circle’
  • Scott’s 1980’s and 1990’s research into the ‘capitalist classes’
  • Both found business elite use symbolic capital to underpin their economic capital
  • Both found cultural capital underpinned access to this elite
quango elites literature
Quango & Elites Literature
  • Both believe that a closed centre exists
  • Both believe that social capital is used to access this centre
  • Elite literature suggests cultural and symbolic capital allows access
  • Quango literature suggests social and economic capital allows access
  • Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) executive quangos
  • 45 agencies employing 15,000 individuals and spending £1.2 billion a year (2005/06)
  • Address all forms of UK culture from museums and galleries, regional cultural agencies, public access to literature and music, sports, films, architecture and heritage – even drinking and gambling
  • 767 individuals
  • 63% male, average age 58
  • Over 11,000 pieces of information
  • Collected from April 2006 to January 2007

Press releases, websites, annual reports, registers of members’ interests, Who’s Who, Debrett’s People of Today …

key findings
Key Findings
  • Distinction between regional-based and London-based institutions
  • Distinction between types of London-based institutions
  • London-based museums occupy similar social and cultural spaces
organisational differences
Organisational differences
  • National organisations bridge cultural capital through its social capital
  • Regional organisations bridge cultural capital through its social capital
  • London museums utilise cultural and symbolic capital for its social capital
london regional distinctions
London-regional distinctions
  • Museums more likely to be linked to charities outside the UK than charities working in the UK outside of London
  • Museums more likely to be linked to international organisations than regional or local bodies outside of London
  • Of the 767 board members, only 1 has links to Wales and only 1 to Northern Ireland
economic capital
Economic capital
  • Economic positions show sparse networks with few interlocks, if any
  • Only Employment network shows signs of influence
  • Only 1 in 3 work for a profit-making organisation
  • 1 in 6 work in academia
  • Cultural capital more important than economic capital, even in employment network
cultural capital
Cultural capital
  • Cultural capital important to London-based organisations, not regional organisations
  • However, symbolic capital underpins the forms of cultural capital which are influential
symbolic capital
Symbolic capital
  • Social capital – Symbolic capital influences social capital of museums
  • Cultural capital – Symbolic capital influences cultural capital of museums
  • Financial capital – Symbolic capital influences other effect of financial capital for museums
  • Symbolic capital has no real influence over institutions outside of London
  • Economic capital holds no impact over DCMS executive quangos
  • Social capital important to regional bodies
  • Cultural and symbolic capital important to London-based instituions
  • Therefore, regional bodies acting like quango elite
  • London-based organisations acting like corporate elite
  • Despite lack of influence of financial capital, elite construction mirrors that of financial elite
  • Evidence that competing elites exists in different spheres, which suggests why quango literature is contridactory
  • Evidence that boards are self-appointing, with organisational structure appearing to outweigh departmental procedures