Inside the whale (and how to get out of there): Moving on from two decades of creative industries research

Mark Banks, Michael Justin O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


In keeping with the spirit of this Special Issue, this article takes a retrospective view – analysing two decades of research on local, city-based cultural economies in the dominant context of the ‘creative industries’ policy paradigm. We begin by exploring our own position in the field – as early arbiters for the cultural industries – and the political and economic context which informed our own (shared) efforts to further progressive claims for culture, amidst the transforming post-industrial city of the 1990s. The subsequent rise of a creative industries discourse – in the United Kingdom and beyond – had a transformative effect on those progressive claims, not least in bringing to the fore a more economistic, capital-driven model of urban renewal which served to undermine many of the promises that had been invested in popular urban culture under social democracy. How this shift was played out in the academic literature – and its political consequences – is the theme of the remainder of the article. This article forms part of the Special Issue ‘On the Move’, which marks the 20th anniversary of the European Journal of Cultural Studies. It also heads up a special online dossier on ‘Creative Industries in the European Journal of Cultural Studies’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-654
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Clusters
  • creative cities
  • cultural industries
  • Manchester
  • politics

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