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YIN HONG: Studies on cultural industry can become discipline

| 2015-07-17 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)

Since the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, cultural industry has become an important field amid China’s reform. Relevant research on cultural industry has increasingly developed. There are growing demands for theories, research methods and market information on cultural industry in the government, enterprises and universities. Talent in this field is also urgently needed.

Currently, there have been discussions about studies on cultural industry, which ultimately boil down to how to construct the disciplinary system and foster  talent.


Core of research
Cultural industry encompasses numerous fields, industries and disciplines from creative design to creation production, from issuing and broadcasting to copyright trading. Studies on cultural industry, as an emerging discipline, aim to research culture from the perspective of industry. This is just what is comparatively weak in the former disciplinary group of cultural creation and a realm hard to bolster only based on former knowledge systems and research methods.

The core of research should be production and consumption of cultural products that have exchange value. In the past, these realms have received little attention in disciplines of cultural creation. Cultural attributes of products are what general economics and management science have not further researched. It is therefore possible for studies on cultural industry to exist as a discipline.


Demand in reality
Given the status quo at home and abroad, the independence of cultural industry as a discipline has not been firmly established. Studies on cultural industry mainly fall within the purview of such disciplines as economics, arts, management science and commercial science and even other types of humanities. 

There are sufficient reasons for the existence of studies on cultural industry. It has research targets and theoretical basis that aren’t included in other existing disciplines. Meanwhile, it has specific research perspectives and is generating new paradigms, theories and methods different from the disciplines of cultural creation, general economics and management science. This emerging discipline has been bolstered by the proliferation of research institutions on cultural industry and the expansion of programs to cultivate talent.  


Cross discipline
It is hard for studies on cultural industry to independently exist, breaking away from disciplines such as economics, management science, arts, journalism and communication. Intersection with disciplines of cultural creation such as journalism and communication, literature, arts, and tourism science determines the research scope of studies on cultural industry. Intersection with economics and management science respectively determines its theoretical basis and research methods.


Studies on cultural industry are relatively independent no matter what category the discipline falls under. It aims to research a series of questions that traditional economics, management science and the disciplinary group of cultural creation have not answered and resolve the problems based on theories and methods from economics, management science and disciplines of cultural creation.

The disciplinary status of studies on cultural industry can be established through research on these problems. They are problems that traditional disciplines cannot resolve and also the biggest challenge the construction of this emerging discipline is facing. Studies on cultural industry do not mean simply putting economics, management science and disciplines of cultural creation together, but intersection and fusion of several disciplines.


Yin Hong is a professor from the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University.