J. P. Singh, author of Globalized Arts: The Entertainment Economy and Cultural Identity, recently took the page 99 test as a way to describe some of the central themes of his book.
Here are some excerpts from his essay for The Page 99 Test blog:
Globalized Arts displays policies that give people a cultural voice, which emancipates or liberates, but also policies that only reflect some elite notion of culture. Page 99 of the book describes how the post-colonial governments in the developing world did not care much for any kind of cultural policies when they ousted their European rulers. Culture connoted something ‘backward’ while a Nehru’s India or a Vargas’ Brazil sought to ‘modernize’ and ‘progress’ through science and technology. We have come around a full circle now as we celebrate telenovelas and Bollywood and an India or a Brazil takes ownership of these symbolic expressions and crafts policies to encourage them. P. 99 and the other pages in the book describe the cultural politics of our times that prioritize certain types of expressions from arts and entertainment while demoting others.
Singh concludes by describing some of the reactions to his book from Arjun Appadurai and Tyler Cowen:
Globalized Arts begins with the cultural anxieties of our times and ends with the politics and policies at the global or the national level that address our discomforts about our evolving collective identities. These politics can be deliberative and democratic, but quite often they are not. The anthropologist Arjun Appadurai notes that the book’s “global context of culture policy” is situated between “critique and celebration.” Economist Tyler Cowen points out that the book deals with both the benefits and the drawbacks of cultural globalization. I provide many a betwixt answer to argue for creativity, cultural voice, and art.