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Is there something special about cultural policy?
University of Borås, Swedish School of Library and Information Science.
2014 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper aims to reflect on the special character of the cultural field in relation to politics, policies and the political system. We usually talk about the notion of “autonomy” as one decisive feature in this relation. But what exactly does that mean? The fundamental research question may be posed thus; why is cultural policy such an awkward matter for the politicians? Drawing in the Swedish experience from the 1960´s and on this paper will try to rethink the relationship and to dig further into this problematic issue. The history of the Swedish cultural policy discourse will provide empirical input for a more principal and theoretical discussion. I am now in the process of finalizing an update of my book from 2005; Kulturen som kulturpolitikens stora problem [Culture as the big problem of cultural policy]. The update is caused by the fact that a new parliamentary decision on Swedish cultural policy was taken in December 2009. It is, therefore, high time to add a chapter on the period from 1996, when my first book stopped. The events during this last period make good reasons to rethink and reflect on what kind of difficult matter “culture” is for politicians and the political system, as compared to, e g infrastructure or economic policies.  Several questions will be addressed. Cultural policy is very slowly changed. Why is that? Are there special circumstances regarding the special case of the Swedish welfare state model? Or is this inertia to be accounted for by the “autonomy”? Can it be so, that there is a fundamental unruliness in the activities of the cultural field that makes it difficult for politicians to act? We have also the diverse and contested character of the concept of culture itself to reckon with in this context.  The research method applied in the paper rests on a thorough empirical investigation into the Swedish discourse on cultural policy during the last century (from my 2005-book and from the research done for the update). Obviously these empirical data will only provide the basis for a more abstract discussion in the paper per se which will be utilizing adequate and relevant theoretical concepts.  Hopefully this will lead to some new thoughts and ideas about this sometimes a bit precarious relation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
cultural policy, autonomy, democracy, quality, Kulturpolitik
National Category
History of Ideas
Research subject
Library and Information Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-7237Local ID: 2320/14291OAI: diva2:887946
8th International Conference on Cultural Policy Research, Hildesheim, Germany, 9-12 September 2014 + Berlin 12-13 September 2014
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22

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Frenander, Anders
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