Fiddling for Outcomes: Traditional Music, Social Capital, and Arts Policy in Northern Ireland

Martin Dowling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Arts development policies increasingly tie funding to the potential of arts organisations to effectively deliver an array of extra-artistic social outcomes. This paper reports on the difficulties of this work in Northern Ireland, where the arts sector, and in particular the so-called 'traditional arts', have been drawn into a politically ambiguous discourse centered on the concepts of 'mutual understanding' and, more recently, 'social capital.' The paper traces the recent history of these policies and the difficulties in evaluating the social outcomes of arts programs. The use of the term 'social capital' in the work of Putnam and Bourdieu is considered. The paper argues, through a rereading of Bourdieu's articulation of the 'forms' of capital and Eagleton's 'ideology of the aesthetic,' the concept of social capital can be released from its current neoliberal trappings by imagining a reconnection of the concepts of 'capital' and 'the aesthetic.'
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-194
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Policy
Volume14(2)
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

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