The Globalization of Cultural Markets

February 25, 2005 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Room 140c, Harris School of Public Policy Studies

Donald Sassoon, Professor of Contemporary European History and Leverhulme Major Research Fellow, Queen Mary, University of London

View the paper: "On Cultural Markets"

Why do some cultures excel in the production of opera? Literature? Why do some nations import twice as many films as their neighbors? How does a “national culture” become the dominant producer of cultural products in our interconnected, globalized world? With these questions serving as a backdrop, Donald Sassoon begins to unravel the mysteries of the business of culture, explaining, through a ride-ranging comparative investigation, the evolution of cultural markets.

Sassoon debunks the perceived attitude that the culture industry is a unified, 20th-century branch of production. He contends that older, more variegated patterns of development, including economic, education, industrial, and technology advances, relate to international relations of cultural dominance. Sassoon weaves a narrative history of cultural hegemony, market assumptions, profit motives, and commodities, from the early 19th century operas of Verdi and Hugo’s Les Miserables, to 21st century Japanese animation and the action movies.

Sassoon’s presentation should appeal to anyone who is interested in the dynamics of global cultural exchange, cultural hegemony, or the influences of international interdependence on the development of national cultures.

About Donald Sassoon: Donald Sassoon is Professor of Contemporary European History and Leverhulme Major Research Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London. A native of Cairo, Egypt, Sassoon was educated in France, Italy, London, and the United States. His primary publications includeOne Hundred Years of Socialism: The West European Left in the Twentieth Century, HarperCollins, the New Press, translated into Italian, Greek, Swedish, and Spanish; Mona Lisa: The History of the World’s Most Famous Painting, Harper Collins, published in the USA by HarcourtBrace as Becoming Mona Lisa: The Making of a Global Icon, November 2001, and translated for publication in Italy, Korea, Poland, Taiwan, Brazil, and China, and to be published in the Czech Republic and Sweden.


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