Making Culture Count. The Politics of Cultural Measurement
Edited by Lachlan MacDowall, Marnie Badham, Emma Blomkamp, and Kim Dunphy. Palgrave Macmillan, United Kingdom, 2015, 328 pages, ISBN: 9781137464576
Culture and cultural development are now internationally recognised as important dimensions of contemporary governance and public policy. The production of accurate and relevant data has become central to cultural policy and how the cultural lives of citizens are understood. Conceptual and practical developments in measurement tools, such as cultural indicators, have the potential to enrich our understanding of culture's role in wellbeing, vitality and citizenship. From UNESCO's benchmarks for cultural freedom to comparative measures of provision and creative cities indices, diverse approaches to quantifying culture and tracking progress now exist. But how useful are all these measures? Are they helping us to keep track of what matters? What opportunities exist to contest, refine or democratise these systems of measurement? Making Culture Count brings together diverse perspectives from scholars, policy-makers and creative practitioners to explore the burgeoning field of cultural measurement and its political implications.
The book aims to show the usefulness of a critical focus of the politics of measurement, in which measures can be adapted and contested. The featured authors engage in a critical dialogue on various approaches to advocating, planning, predicting, monitoring, evaluating, and simply understanding culture and cultural change. Chapters cover a range of theoretical and practical approaches to quantifying cultural values often considered intangible: cultural vitality, health and wellbeing, citizenship, sustainability and heritage. This book was generated out of the international conference Making Culture Count: Rethinking Measures of Cultural Vitality, Wellbeing and Citizenship, held in Melbourne in 2012, as a joint project of the Cultural Development Network and the Centre for Cultural Partnerships, University of Melbourne.
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