From Kinship to Global Brand : The Discourse on Culture in Nordic Cooperation after World War II

Abstract: This work analyzes the political instrumentalization of culture. Specifically, it studies how this is done through cultural policy within Western democracies. The analysis takes, as an example, official Nordic cultural cooperation in the post-war period. During this time, cultural exchange among Nordic countries became the subject of political attention establishing itself as part of the Nordic inter-governmental cooperation framework.This work focuses on three key moments in the history of official Nordic cultural cooperation: (i) the failure of the NORDEK plan (a plan which envisaged extensive economic cooperation between the Nordic countries) and the establishment of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1971; (ii) the collapse of the Soviet system at the end of the 1980s - beginning of the 1990s; and (iii) the movement towards promoting the Nordic region on the global market in the first decade of the 2000s.The analysis traces the lack of convergence between the official arm’s length principle in cultural policy and how cultural cooperation actually worked. The results of the research both demonstrate the various ways culture was instrumentalized and also prove that the politically defined concept of culture can receive different interpretations in the official discourse depending on current political goals.

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