Nationalising Culture The Reorganisation of National Culture in Swedish Cultural Policy 1970–2002
Abstract: By comparative analysis of Swedish cultural policy (including art policy, heritage policy and Church policy) during the Riksdag periods of 1970-73, 1991-94, 1994-98 and 1998-2002 the relationship between cultural policy and the concept of the nation as a homogenous cultural community (defined by either an ethnic or a state-framed concept) is explored. Neoinstitutional analysis of cultural policy as an organisational field is combined with analysis of how the nation is conceived as an imagined community, and what values it strives to uphold to show how these values and concepts are institutionalised in its cultural policy and how this supports the legitimacy of the State as a nation-state.In the early seventies, when a general cultural policy was first established in Sweden, most of its fields were already institutionalised and bound by strong path dependencies, binding art policy to protecting universal aesthetic values within the state-framed nation and heritage policy to ethnic particularism while Church policy stood between universalism and ethnic particularism (which infected the relationship between Church and State). These contradictions were managed by strong borders between the fields. In the early seventies these were overlaid with a general cultural policy focused on universal civil values within the state-framed nation. Since then the conflict between Church and State has been defused and the norms of heritage policy have become closer to those of cultural policy at large by the claim that cultural heritage should be used to uphold civil values (e.g. democracy and tolerance). In the late nineties cultural policy has again become less integrated by new government initiatives with specific goals. Civil universal values remain dominant while concepts of the nation are increasingly multi-ethnic.
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