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Creative and cultural industries in global production network approaches so far: a brief review of the literature and its relevance for the creative and cultural industries

Robert C. Kloosterman; Andy Pratt; Marianna d'Ovidio; Lidia Greco; Thomas Borén

This paper is built on the assumption that a meaningful understanding of how cultural and creative industries (CCI) operate cannot do without an exploration of how their dispersed, multi-format activities are simultaneously embedded in local contexts and inserted in larger global networks. To capture the CCIs’ simultaneously local and global integration, this paper applies the Global Production Network (GPN) approach, which departs from the view that contemporary production processes are confined to one place and posits instead that production processes are integrated in complex networks which often comprise locations in a number of countries. Such an approach goes beyond traditional value-chain analyses by considering the organisational and spatial patterns of production networks as well as investigating the embeddedness of the various components in multi-scalar institutional regulatory contexts. It entails among other examining the historical roots of local assets (notably the reproduction of specific skills), the power relationships between different actors, and the broader institutional and political setting on various spatial scales. GPN approaches have often been applied to networks producing tangible, material goods, while services have only quite recently been analysed from a GPN perspective. In this paper, we first offer a focused review of the literature on CCIs since the 1990s when they started to become a research theme in its own right. After that, we will present the main components of the GPN approach and briefly sketch its development. Applying this analytical framework to CCIs, which are only partly goods-producing activities, necessitates adapting the GPN approach to be able to  deal with activities whose products in many cases are either services (e.g. performances) or products in digital form (e.g. recorded music, games). In the final section, we will dwell on the implications of applying a GPN approach to CCIs.

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