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Foreign Cultural Policy through the work of the National Institutes for Culture: a comparative study on instrumentalism

Kizlari, Dimitra; (2019) Foreign Cultural Policy through the work of the National Institutes for Culture: a comparative study on instrumentalism. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The present thesis explores how instrumentalism is expressed in the work of the National Institutes for Culture. The term ‘National Institutes for Culture’ refers to not-for-profit public agencies vested with the task to promote a country’s national language and culture abroad. Instrumentalism describes a neo-liberal approach to policymaking through which priority is given to the political and economic returns of an investment to a policy sector rather than attributing value to it for its intrinsic quality. Foreign cultural policy is marked by this tension as cultural projects and programmes are used as a means to achieve non-cultural outcomes. Put simply, culture in external affairs is used in order to maximise gains in the international arena and not necessarily to develop the sector for its own sake. The legal status and institutional position of the Cultural Institutes within the government apparatus offer fertile ground to study how state control shapes their structure and discourse. The project studies six cases from Europe with the purpose of comparing different governmental practices in the organisation of foreign cultural policy. Using as an in-depth case study Greece and the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, the researcher informs her initial set of hypotheses and continues to test the assumptions in another five case studies. The selected organisations are the British Council, the Goethe Institut, the Institut français, the Instituto Cervantes and the Swedish Institute. The researcher has used as primary data sources semi-structured interviews with policymakers as well as the mission statements, strategy plans, statutes and budgets of the Cultural Institutes. The findings indicate that the Cultural Institutes are linked to their sponsoring departments through five channels of supervision: i. funding, ii. agenda setting, iii. evaluation, iv. hierarchy and v. appointment power. Governments use different structural means to control their Institutes, however, there are other paths to ensure compliance. Ideology is the primary way through which governments secure that their interests will be met. Realist discourses, which see culture as an instrument in the service of the state, have long prevailed in statecraft and through a trickle-down effect, they have permeated the domain of culture in external affairs. However, a new school of thought has now surfaced which marries skilfully discourses favouring the extrinsic value of culture and discourses advocating for the intrinsic value of the cultural sector.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Foreign Cultural Policy through the work of the National Institutes for Culture: a comparative study on instrumentalism
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072047
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