Determinants of the Diversity of Cultural Participation and Consumption in South Africa

ISSN/ISBN : 1480-8986
Pages : 5-18

Product: Article

$21.00 CA

Jen Snowball, Delon Tarentaal

Jen Snowball is a Professor of Economics and Head of Department at Rhodes University, South Africa. She is a researcher at the South African Cultural Observatory.
Delon Tarentaal is a Lecturer in the Department of Economics at Rhodes University, South Africa. He focuses on quantitative and mathematical economics.

There is a great deal of international research on factors that determine the levels of cultural engagement in developed country contexts. However, there is far less research in the African context. This quantitative research used a large (25 000 observations) national database to analyse the determinants of cultural consumption and participation in South Africa across a range of cultural and creative goods and services. The paper also aims to test the theory of cultural ecosystems - that cultural participation leads to, or supports, cultural consumption. Logit and Ordinary Least Squares econometric models were used to analyse the data. Results show that when both formal market consumption as well as informal and amateur participation are included, South Africans are relatively highly culturally engaged. As found in other countries, cultural consumption is more likely to take place in households with more economic resources, and higher education levels. However, cultural participation is higher amongst those with lower levels of economic resources, women, and in the black African, coloured or Indian/Asian population groups. Those who engage in informal cultural activities (participation) are both more likely to also be cultural consumers, and to consume for kinds of cultural content. A shift in policy focus to include funding for community-based, informal and amateur cultural participation is likely to both increase access to arts culture and heritage, as well as to feed into increased cultural consumption.

Cultural; Consumption; Participation; Diversity; South Africa