The Cultures of Neoliberal Capitalism
The general focus of my research currently is “The Cultures of Neoliberal Capitalism” which is connected to the cool-capitalism thesis that I spelt out in a book of that title in 2009. My case study of "The Saatchi Phenomenon" relates to this general focus, as I shall explain in my public lecture. When I am in Vienna I will be working on two book projects. The first is a collection of my writings under the title of “Culture, Critique and Policy”. In my work generally I combine a critical and methodologically multidimensional approach to cultural issues of public interest. In this respect, my work contributes to cultural policy studies but in a critical and reflexive manner. My style of policy-oriented cultural analysis is set out with several case studies in my 2010 book, entitled simply “Cultural Analysis”. The second book that I will be working on whilst at IFK is the editing of a republished version of Raymond Williams’s “Towards 2000”, originally published in 1983 but which is currently out of print. "Towards 2000" was a sequel to Raymond Williams’ earlier book, “The Long Revolution” (1961). As it happens, “Towards 2000” was always an unfortunate choice of title since it gives the impression that it was merely a fin-de-siecle text that went out of date on the 31st of December 1999 instead of the extraordinarily percipient and chilling conspectus for the future of culture and society under the sign of “Plan X” (neoliberalism). With the permission of the Raymond Williams estate I am retitling the book, “A Short Counter Revolution – Towards 2000 Revisited”, removing the long chapter on “Britain in the 1960s” that was reprinted from “The Long Revolution” and replacing it with a lengthy chapter written by myself at IFK on the “short counter-revolution”. This work also relates to a larger project of mine, which is to retrieve Williams’ cultural materialism as a viable paradigm for the social sciences that is superior to the currently fashionable and idealist American school of cultural sociology. This has already been initiated in my edited collection of Williams’ writings to be published in early 2013 by Sage and discussed in my article, “Raymond Williams on Culture and Society”appearing in the journal “Keywords” in November 2012.
In the past Jim McGuigan has worked for the Arts Council of Great Britain and BBC Television. He has published several books, and many articles in academic and popular journals.
Selected publications: Cultural Analysis, London 2010; Cool Capitalism, London/New York 2009; Rethinking Cultural Policy, New York 2004; Modernity and Postmodern Culture, Buckingham/Philadelphia 1999; Culture and the Public Sphere, London/New York 1996; Cultural Populism, London/New York 1992; Writers and the Arts Council, London 1981.
In recent times, publicly subsidised art galleries and museums have been subjected to immense pressure to operate more like private businesses, which is a particular feature of the transition from organised to neoliberal capitalism. Jim McGuigan’s lecture looks at a specific development in the art world that takes the neoliberal usurpation of the public sector in the cultural field further and, in this case, literally replaces it: the Saatchi phenomenon and the promotion (and sale) of cool art in general.