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The Arts, the State, and the EU

Cultural Policy in the Making of Europe

Monica Sassatelli

This article considers the development of a European Union (EU) cultural policy and its role in the making of Europe. One of the aims of cultural policy is the fostering of specific identities. Although normally associated with the state—the community thus 'imagined' being typically the nation, with the nation-state the prime actor of interventions on cultural matters—in the last 20-30 years, decentralisation on the one hand and Europeanization on the other have undermined the state monopoly of cultural policies, calling for a reconsideration of their rationale, objectives, and reach. This article contributes toward such reconsideration, concentrating on the Europeanization dimension. It is based on an account of how the EU is gradually establishing a competence in the field of culture and on a closer investigation into how its framework program, Culture 2000, has been implemented and interpreted in a local context.

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Governance of or through culture?

Cultural policy and the politics of culture in Europe

Banu Karaca

The notion of culture has loomed large in discourses and polemics regarding European integration and immigration in the European framework. While culture, as in fundamental cultural difference, is identified as the source of contemporary political quandaries, its incarnation as intercultural dialogue is conceived as their solution. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in the arts settings of Berlin and Istanbul, this article elucidates how this type of "culture talk" intersects with recent cultural policy formations in the European Union and the national arenas of Germany and Turkey. Much of the political productivity of culture arises from a constant slippage between the different, often contradictory, meanings accorded to the culture-concept. This extension of the "rhetoric of culture" engenders a shift from a governance of culture to one through culture by relaying an array of pressing political concerns from the realm of social and economic policy to that of culture in the sense of artistic expression.

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Wilfried van der Will

After considering the functions of capital cities this article argues that culture both as creative activity and as living heritage of customs and architectural assemblies plays a central role in the self-perception of present-day Berlin. The agents—public and private—that interact in the conception and execution of decisive initiatives in the remake of the city form an extensive cultural policy establishment. They derive their legitimation from regional and federal constitutions and from their command of attention in the public discourse. Berlin's claimed status as the most obvious German metropolis is not self-evident. Within the nation it is neither the center of finance, nor the media, nor the supreme courts. In Germany there are other towns and metropolitan regions with a similarly rich infrastructure that can compete at least nationally. But Berlin, building on Enlightenment traditions, is making a plausible effort in regaining its cosmopolitanism. Despite a host of problems, it is now surpassing the ethnic and cultural diversity that was lost in the years of Nazi dictatorship. Can it maintain its attraction for creative talent, both cultural and technological, in view of accelerating social divisions and gentrification?

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Tuuli Lähdesmäki, Sigrid Kaasik-Krogerus and Katja Mäkinen

Th is article investigates the genealogy of the concept of heritage in the European Commission’s (EC) policy discourse from 1973 to 2016. Based on conceptual analysis of 2,412 documents gathered from the EUR-Lex database, the uses of the concept in the EC’s policy discourse were categorized into seven thematic areas: nature, environment, and biodiversity; human habitats; economy and employment; agricultural products and foodstuffs; promotion of societal development and stability; audiovisuality and digitalization; and European identity and integration. In the EC’s discourse, heritage develops in the context of intertwined phases of EU integration and cultural Europeanization. The study indicates how the EC governs heritage mostly through implicit cultural policies included in diverse policy sectors other than culture.

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Transnational Cultural Propaganda

French Cultural Policies in Britain during the Second World War

Charlotte Faucher

The Second World War challenged the well-established circulation of cultural practices between France and Britain. But it also gave individuals, communities, states, and aspiring governments opportunities to invent new forms of international cultural promotion that straddled the national boundaries that the war had disrupted. Although London became the capital city of the main external Resistance movement Free France, the latter struggled to establish its cultural agenda in Britain, owing, on the one hand, to the British Council’s control over French cultural policies and, on the other hand, to the activities of anti-Gaullist Resistance fighters based in London who ascribed different purposes to French arts. While the British Council and a few French individuals worked towards prolonging French cultural policies that had been in place since the interwar period, Free French promoted rather conservative and traditional images of France so as to reclaim French culture in the name of the Resistance.

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Jeremy Valentine

This article attempts to show how the conventional opposition between art and culture, on the one hand, and administration and organization, on the other, has been displaced. The main reason given for this phenomenon is the convergence of the collapse of notions of the political and aesthetic causality of art and culture with the destabilizing effects of postmodernism on organizational and administrative stability. After a discussion of the emergence of political regimes of audit within relations between culture and administration, the article locates the causes of the dominance of 'cultural governance' within the dynamics of modernist aesthetic values such as autonomy. The article concludes with a discussion of some optimistic possibilities that may arise from this scenario.

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The Culture Industries

Symbolic Economies and Critical Practices

Malcolm Miles

Art has become a ubiquitous if at times convenient solution to problems of urban regeneration and social division. Generally, it takes the form of commissioned works or projects in development schemes, supported by state bureaucracies and funding agencies, which view the arts as expedient in relation to problems produced by other areas of policy, from unemployment to social exclusion. Currently, a shift can be detected in arts policy toward a restatement of the aesthetic approach characteristic of the post-war years, in which art does best what art alone does. At the same time, there has been a growth of new, mainly collaborative art practices, constituting a dissidence reliant on art's structures of support while seeking to subvert their intentions. The article outlines the perceived role of art in urban economic development, suggests that a shift in policy is taking place, and describes the new cultural dissidence through specific cases.

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Hijacking Cultural Policies

Art as a Healthy Virus within Social Strategies of Resistance

Marina Fokidis

The Egnatia Road project describes a cooperative action between European artists and local populations along the ancient route from Rome to Constantinople. Focusing on myths and memories of territorial and metaphorical displacement over centuries, it represents a space of resistance realized in narrative and physical action. The process of constructing the road engages artistic activism and local communities in creating a participatory cultural product. Begun as a road trip to the Balkans, the research in history, storytelling, and half-forgotten traditions has resulted in the creation of mobile laboratories and events involving a range of people and experiences. The ongoing intention has been to produce paving stones recording the personal and communal experiences of people along the road. As an exercise in public art, the project has raised new questions and insights into the nature of popular dissent and the role of art in giving it a voice in wider venues and situations.

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Jaro Stacul

At a time when European cities redefine themselves through 'culture' in an attempt to attract tourists, investors and potential residents, policymakers have to negotiate different notions of 'local culture' defined by state governments on the one hand and by the EU on the other. Drawing upon research conducted in the Polish city of Gdańsk in the context of the redevelopment of its urban landscape, the article illustrates how 'local culture' is redefined as 'culture of freedom' by municipal and state institutions in order to establish a relationship of historical continuity between the time when Gdańsk was a thriving multicultural city and the post-socialist present. The article puts forward the argument that while the reformulation of local culture as 'culture of freedom' involves reconciling notions of national identity with new norms of local, regional and European integration, it does not necessarily entail the supersession of nationalism.

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Corine Defrance

Even though the terms “culture“ and “reconciliation“ are absent in the Élysée Treaty, this article looks at forms of cooperation that the Treaty nevertheless generated in the fields of education and youth, as well as foreign affairs and defense. In fact, the Treaty was quite important for the development of cultural and socio-cultural relations between France and Germany and the interactions between states and civil societies. Yet, contrary to the political rhetoric often heard, the Élysée Treaty was not the “year zero“ of Franco-German rapprochement. The Treaty also has to be evaluated in terms of the new impetus it provided for societal initiatives, as well as its limits in the cultural field. The article also assesses recent debates among intellectuals in the two countries: Do the two nations still have something to share at the cultural level or have they distanced themselves from each other? Has the Élysée Treaty really exhausted its integrative capacities regarding socio-cultural matters? In sum, the Treaty has become an important framework for Franco-German socio-cultural cooperation, even if “culture“ was not its main aim, and governments are far from having been the main actors in this field. But, thanks to the joint process of consultation and institutionalization, experiments with bilateral forms of exchanges and cooperation often occurred before being re-applied to a larger framework.