Cultural policy in the Northern Europe : beyond residual governance

Rindzeviciute, Egle (2021) Cultural policy in the Northern Europe : beyond residual governance. In: The 10th Nordic Conference of Cultural Policy Research (NCCPR); 10-12 Nov 2021, Borås, Sweden. (Unpublished)


In this talk I will examine the shaping of the new social contract between cultural professionals, policy makers and society applying the lens of residual governance. Gabrielle Hecht (2018) coined the term “residual governance” to describe the process where industrial waste is governed as an afterthought, where industries treat people and places as externalities, residual to their “core” tasks of invention and production. As Tony Bennett (1998) famously noted, culture has been “a reformer’s science” since the beginning of the enlightenment era. However, in the neoliberal age of marketisation and individual responsibilisation, cultural policy starts to resemble a form of waste management - residual governance – rather than a Kantian project of betterment of the self and the social. Aspects of what I term cultural policy as residual governance was studied in the work on the “instrumentalisation” of cultural policy, where culture and the arts are deployed to achieve social, political and economic goals. In the twenty first century, this instrumentalisation is taking on a new aspect – mopping up the negative consequences of two centuries of industrialisation. Cultural regeneration and cultural resilience are good examples of residual governance, where cultural policy is called forth to repair what economic and industrial development policies scarred as well as the damage done by the rolling back of the welfare state. In this talk I will discuss the examples of cultural policy as residual governance drawn from the Nordic space widely conceived – as the former state socialist Baltic states have been classified as part of Northern Europe by the UN since 2017.

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