Development, "Culture," and the Promise of Modern Progress
This essay investigates the key tensions that arise within Jamaica's new cultural policy "Toward Jamaica the Cultural Superstate." The argument presented in the paper is that "culture" is a tricky and potentially dangerous site upon which to hinge national development goals, even though the expansion of cultural industries may well represent a viable and potentially lucrative strategy for economic development. This is because invariably, "culture" cannot do the work policy makers would like it to do, and its invocation within policy spheres usually already signals a kind of developmental distress, a perceived need for retooling through a form of social engineering. In other words, "culture" (in the anthropological sense) reflects and shapes, yet cannot in and of itself solve the most pressing challenges facing Jamaica today.