Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cultural Capital and young people, including London Rioters

It is about time I did another blog about Cultural Capital.

This is the topic I have written about in the past and it is about I am forever trying to get policy makers to recognise the value, in more than monetary terms of culture and creativity.

We need to think of Cultural Capital as being an essential part of the structure of our societies.    It is as important as Social Capital or networking. Cultural Capital the essence of our beings.

So why is Cultural Capital so valuable and how do we measure it? 

To measure cultural capital we can use opportunity costs economics.  The opportunity cost is the cost of doing something one way rather than another.

In other words instead of sending billions of dollars on having troops to Iraq, you send peace keepers and reconstruction personal who would cost less and yet produce the same outcome which we understand is the establishment of democracy. 

In other words looking at doing something a different way using cultural or social capital would give better and cheaper outcomes for the same final result. 

Another example is the use of the arts and culture to encourage and promote economic and environmental well-being, then with that, social inclusion and social integration amongst young people in cities.

We could set up spaces where disconnected young people could dance, play music, do visual and craft arts where they can get a sense of belonging and achievement.

In creative spaces young people could be encouraged to express their culture and there identity in a positive way.  

The alternatives, far more expensive capital costs are the provision of policing and young people high on alcohol and drugs and in London recently, rioting and now long prison sentences costing millions of dollars.   The art and culture preventions much cheaper.   

The politicians and social commentators are questioning the causes of the rioting and the soul searching will continue.  The discussion, note that many of the young people using blackberries and text messages and facebook pages, were middle class and have jobs, they wanted a thrill as they appeared to be bored with life, lacked any vision, and then didn’t think of any consequence of the destruction the created.  Other commentators say they had no values and no respect, whatever that might mean.

If young people had been given activities that engaged them, in creative fun, provide engagement and self esteem, would the riots still have happened?  Would the young people have found positive ways to express their frustration?

Cultural capital is also about knowing who we are as individuals and nations.  Communities define themselves,  when they express creativity and engagement.  This expression can   express with words, dance, music and visual arts, and we can express ourselves with craft or we can take part in story telling or song writing.   The artists as facilitators can inspire, draw out and provide a whole mix of benefits for society.   The wide benefits are in social capital, using the cultural capital.  Also through the arts and cultural interaction ethnic differences are understood and communicated. Colour is no longer an issue.

As I said in Friday’s blog some of the outcomes are the spiritual well-being of those taking part in the cultural activity.

So back to Cultural Capital and its meaning.  

On page 13 of my book “Cultural Well-being and Cultural Capital”  

I define it as being “a process of building the economic base of any community” which also includes “…the meaning and production of capital, the ideas of creativity, imagination, innovation, history, values and rituals”  It is the capital that ultimately we measure in money and assets.  for the free downloadable book.  

As I have said in my blogs about the unequal society, as the gap between rich and poor gets larger and larger we will see more rioting. 

Let’s try to set up more arts events and spaces where young people can go and hang out, thus enabling them to express themselves and built values and self-respect. 

The cost of these spaces and events is far cheaper then tidying up after riots.

No comments:

Post a Comment