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Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework


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This Working Paper introduces a specific concept of cultural governance as a research concept for the humanities and social sciences. As a preliminary step, it discusses the term “culture” and the concept of governance. This discussion will be preceded by general remarks regarding social science-orientated research on culture. The Kulturwissenschaften (German for Humanities) must deal with the fact that, as a result of the history of the term, a diversity of “culture” terms exist, both in academic disciplines and in public discourse. This should be systematically considered in any attempt to formulate a research concept for cultural governance. Based on a discussion of key thinkers concerned with the relationship of culture and society (Max Weber, Antonio Gramsci, Theodor W. Adorno, Clifford Geertz, Stuart Hall), and the regulation-of-culture-approach in British Cultural Studies, a research framework of cultural governance is unfolded in the paper. While this concept should be useful in many contexts of a social-science-orientated research on cultural phenomena (i. e. the governance of cultural diversity), an exemplary concretization is offered for the governance field of cultural heritage in closing
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Working Papers
MMG Working Paper 11-02 ISSN 2192-2357
Thomas schmiTT
Cultural Governance as a conceptual
Max Planck Institute for the Study of
Religious and Ethnic Diversity
Max-Planck-Institut zur Erforschung multireligiöser
und multiethnischer Gesellschaften
Thomas Schmitt
Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework
MMG Working Paper 11-02
Max-Planck-Institut zur Erforschung multireligiöser und multiethnischer Gesellschaften,
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
© 2011 by the author
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)
Working Papers are the work of staff members as well as visitors to the Institute’s events. The
analyses and opinions presented in the papers do not reect those of the Institute but are those
of the author alone.
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This Working Paper introduces a specic concept of cultural governance as a research
concept for the humanities and social sciences. As a preliminary step, it discusses the
term “culture” and the concept of governance. This discussion will be preceded by
general remarks regarding social science-orientated research on culture. The Kultur-
wissenschaften (German for Humanities) must deal with the fact that, as a result
of the history of the term, a diversity of “culture” terms exist, both in academic
disciplines and in public discourse. This should be systematically considered in any
attempt to formulate a research concept for cultural governance. Based on a discus-
sion of key thinkers concerned with the relationship of culture and society (Max
Weber, Antonio Gramsci, Theodor W. Adorno, Clifford Geertz, Stuart Hall), and
the regulation-of-culture-approach in British Cultural Studies, a research framework
of cultural governance is unfolded in the paper. While this concept should be use-
ful in many contexts of a social-science-orientated research on cultural phenomena
(i. e. the governance of cultural diversity), an exemplary concretization is offered for
the governance eld of cultural heritage in closing.
Thomas schmiTT is Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study
of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (MMP), Department of Socio-Cultural Diversity,
1. Perspectives of social sciences-orientated research towards cultural
phenomena................................................................................................ 7
1.1 Introduction ..................................................................................... 7
1.2 Diversity of the term “culture” and theoretical perspectives on
culture .............................................................................................. 11
2. The concept of governance ....................................................................... 19
2.1 A general analytical framework for reconstruction of governance
processes from the perspective of the social sciences ......................... 23
3. Cultural Governance ................................................................................. 30
3.1 A genealogy of ideas about cultural governance ............................... 30
3.2 Existing denitions of cultural governance ....................................... 41
3.3 On the conception and operationalization of cultural governance
in the social sciences: a research programme ..................................... 44
3.4 A conceptual framework for the study of cultural governance ......... 48
4. Conclusion ................................................................................................ 51
Bibliography ...................................................................................................... 52
List of gures
Fig. 1 Key points of the proposed basic sozialwissenschaftlich conception ...... 17
Fig. 2 The ‘Circuit of Culture’ as a heuristic concept for cultural analysis
in the series of books ‘Culture, Media and Identities’ ........................... 38
Fig. 3 An analytical framework for the reconstruction of processes of
cultural governance ............................................................................... 50
List of tables
Tab. 1 Goals for social science-oriented research on cultural phenomena,
for social science-oriented Kulturwissenschaften .................................... 11
Tab. 2 A general framework for the analysis of elds of governance ............... 23
Tab. 3 Different objects of cultural governance, depending on which concept
of culture is used ................................................................................... 31
Tab. 4 Concepts from the analytical framework .............................................. 50
1. Perspectives of social sciences-orientated research towards
cultural phenomena
1.1 Introduction
This Working Paper introduces a specic concept of cultural governance as a research
concept for the humanities and social sciences (esp. Section 3). As a preliminary step,
it discusses the term “culture” (Section 1.2) and the concept of governance (Section
2). This discussion will be preceded by general remarks regarding social science-ori-
entated research on culture (Section 1.1).1
The classic humanities, social and cultural anthropology, cultural studies, the
social sciences, but also subsections of specic sciences such as cultural geography,
all deal with the cultural, in diverse, overlapping and different ways. In the 1990s all
of them were inuenced by the cultural turns and the then innovative approaches of
British cultural studies. “The University after Cultural Studies” was the topic of a
panel held in 2009 at the spring conference of the American Cultural Studies Asso-
ciation. According to the conference reports, none of the participants questioned
the success of the discipline; they stated that it had completely transformed the US
humanities during the previous two decades. Thomas Steinfeld (2009) summarized
the contributions to the conference by saying that engaging with popular culture had
become the centre of attention to such an extent, in a strange linking of private pas-
sions and a great need for theory, that its success could not be ignored. In the 1990s,
a term established itself in the German academic landscape, institutionally visible in
book titles, and in the renaming of faculties and degree programmes, that had until
then led a rather niche existence, namely that of Kulturwissenschaften, which can be
translated into English as Cultural Sciences or better yet as Culture Sciences. As a
simple Google search shows, both combinations can be shown to exist in English,
but are not very common, and they could lead to incorrect associations concerning
the content of Kulturwissenschaften. In any case, these terms should not be used
interchangeably without reection. In the German-speaking world, Kulturwissen-
schaften is edging out the established term Geisteswissenschaften (literally: sciences
of the mind), which is basically the equivalent to the English humanities in terms
of scope and topics, meaning the philologies and linguistics, but also, for example,
1 This Working Paper is based on some ideas of my habilitation thesis which deals with
UNESCO’s World Heritage Regime (Schmitt 2011). I would like to thank Hans-Georg
Bohle (Department of Geography, University of Bonn) who encouraged me to unfold the
concept of Cultural Governance.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
music studies, art history, and usually also theologies and religious studies. Rena-
ming departments is usually an expression of upheaval and conceptual reorientation,
which in this case becomes visible, among other things, through the completion of
the Cultural Turns and the reception of Cultural Studies. In this process, Kultur-
wissenschaften and Sozialwissenschaften (social sciences) to a certain extent became
complementary terms, and so, within the German-speaking world, following a cer-
tainly not contradiction-free but still widely shared consensus, Kulturwissenschaften
encompass not only the traditional humanities, but also Cultural and Social Anthro-
pology – which has in some ways managed to take on the status of a leading disci-
pline (Leitdisziplin) – as well as smaller subsections such as Cultural Geography.
This paper aims to locate the cultural within a specic social sciences perspec-
tive, namely in relation to questions of political steering and governance. In order
to properly engage with this topic, I believe it is necessary to start by clarifying the
central terms of culture and governance. In doing so, the paper concerns itself with
a thematic eld that crosses the boundaries of a number of scientic disciplines
that belong, on the one hand, to the Kulturwissenschaften, and on the other hand
to the Sozialwissenschaften (social sciences). Kulturwissenschaften and Sozialwis-
senschaften have always overlapped, as is evident from the way certain scholars are
treated; thus, a thinker such as Max Weber may be found in genealogies of both dis-
ciplines. In a comparatively small discipline such as human geography, it is noticeable
that, depending on the context (conference, book project, edited volume), the same
person is sometimes listed as a cultural geographer and at other times as a social geo-
In their introduction to the three-volume “Handbook of Kulturwissenschaften
(Jaeger et al. 2004/1: VII), the authors conrm the ambivalent current situation of
the Kulturwissenschaften (and thereby also partially of the anglophone Humanities).
On the one hand, the authors claim that the Kulturwissenschaften are gaining increa-
sing importance for the cultural interpretation and orientation of present-day socie-
ties, while on the other hand, their subject-specic, theoretical and methodological
self-understanding is by no means clear. The internationalization and interdiscipli-
narization of the Kulturwissenschaften discussion has made this more complex: But
the Kulturwissenschaften in the sense of the German tradition of the rst decades
of the twentieth century clearly referred to something other than British or Anglo-
american Cultural Studies or the currents of Structuralism and Post-structuralism
developed in France. As a result of this confusion, the term culture is in danger of
becoming a catchall which has no analytical selectivity and which is no longer capa-
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 9
ble of combining the questions and ndings of the Kulturwissenschaften – according
to the argumentation of the editors of the handbook (Jaeger et al. 2004/1: VII).
It has often been pointed out that in the famous Cultural Turn, multiple develop-
ments occurred, that were in no way consistent and sometimes even contradictory.
The Cultural Turn can be divided up analytically (for example, into a Linguistic Turn,
a Semiotic Turn, a Qualitative Turn, a Post-structuralist Turn), so that Blotevogel
(2003: 9), for example, recommends the use of the plural form Cultural Turns, in
order to express the plurality, or heterogeneity, of references to culture within diffe-
rent branches of the social sciences.
While certain aspects of the Cultural Turn can be considered as being broadly,
other aspects of the Cultural Turn remain controversial. The debate on the relevance
of the Cultural Turn, which is by no means nished, and periodically polemic, but by
now clearly reied, mainly targeted critiques of
the unconditional acceptance of post-modern and post-structuralist positions; at
least, for some colleagues a “pure” post-structuralism signies the end of all possi-
bility for intersubjective, understandable and replicable science; see for example
Weichhart (2008: Chapter 11), who presents this argument in a convincing manner
the increasing hegemonial position of discourse analysis approaches, while, for
example, some authors portray the social science view of actors and their actions
or practices, or their structures and institutions, as having little relevance
a rather “arts journalism-esque” (Klüter 2005) writing style and unscientic wor-
king style without grounded empirical research, and
a too short-sighted narrative equating of knowledge and power, with reference to
the works of Michel Foucault, which ignores other dimensions of knowledge and
power (regarding this argument, see Pott 2005)
the seemingly arbitrary choice of topics with only slight relevance to society
Similar questions have been sand still are raised in a general way in the interdisci-
plinary discussion on the relationship between Sozialwissenschaften and Kulturwis-
senschaften (cf. Jaeger et al. 2004: 1-3; and Moebius/Reckwitz 2008). These questions
and topics include, among others:
the age-old question of epistemological foundations, concerning the possibility or
impossibility of Sozialwissenschaften and Kulturwissenschaften, which was posed
in a new way by Post-structuralism (on the cross-disciplinary discussion that is
principally in favour of Post-structuralism, see Moebius/Reckwitz 2008; a more
critical assessment is to be found in Weichhart 2008),
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
debates on the term “culture” and its relevance for Kulturwissenschaft-based
the question regarding the primacy or the equality of the discourse-oriented
approach, or approaches based on agency or praxis (on the cross-disciplinary dis-
cussion, see, for example, Hörning 2004),
the question on the differentiation or identity of Sozialwissenschaften and Kultur-
wissenschaften, and nally
the question regarding the relationship of kulturwissenschaftlicher (this is the
adjective form of Kulturwissenschaften) individual disciplines to a comprehensive
For a social sciences-based study of cultural phenomena
With different types of emphasis and programmatic implementation, Lippuner
(2005), Werlen (2003), Gregson (2003) or Pott (2005) have made a case for greater
reference to the social sciences within cultural geography, in response to plausible
critiques formulated above. The approach developed in this Working Paper is based
on the idea that culture-oriented research should be rmly linked to the social sci-
ences. In this paper, I argue for the implementation of social science-based research
on cultural phenomena (and, as a geographer, particularly for a social science-based
cultural geography), which will, on the one hand, investigate the reproduction of cul-
tural phenomena, while, on the other hand, investigating the signicance of cultural
phenomena for social reproduction or for functional sub-sections, such as politics
(Table1). As cultural phenomena or facts we mean here offerings of sense and mean-
ing, and on the other hand, those practices, actions and artefacts in which such offer-
ings of sense and meaning are directly expressed (see the thorough discussion of the
term “culture” in Chapter 1.2). The question of social reproduction of cultural facts
can be differentiated into questions about transformation, the changing of cultural
facts through social change or through social inuences (including political, eco-
nomic or technological inuences), and the question of societal and political steer-
ing, regulation or governance of cultural facts. The approach to culture governance
presented in the rest of this chapter is a specication of this kulturwissenschaftlicher
goal for the investigation of the social reproduction of cultural facts.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 11
Tab. 1: Goals for social science-oriented research on cultural phenomena, for social science-
oriented Kulturwissenschaften
1.2 Diversity of the term “culture” and theoretical perspectives on culture
It seems appropriate at this point to reect upon the term “culture” before continuing
the argumentation towards social science-oriented research on cultural phenomena.
The Kulturwissenschaften must deal with the fact that, as a result of the history of
the term, a diversity of “culture” terms exists, both in academic disciplines and in
public discourse. This has at least two consequences. On the one hand, an author
must ask himself which understanding of culture, or the cultural, he is presenting.
The same applies to any particular paradigmatic approach. The sciences are not able,
or no longer able, or are able only in relation to specic paradigms, to conclusively
dene their central terms with a broad consensus from the scientic community, but
academic disciplines should at least be clear about their central terms – for otherwise,
what would be the foundation of their own scientic praxis? On the other hand, the
Kulturwissenschaften must deal with the fact that concepts of culture or the cultural
exist, which they themselves do not share and which are inuential in society and
within their particular research elds. A series of attempts has been made over the
last few years on the part of authors in the Kulturwissenschaften and in the social
sciences, with the goal of tracing and systematizing the diverse meanings and the
genealogy of the term “culture” (see, for example, Eagleton 2001; Reckwitz 2004).
Thus, Ropers (1997: 167f.), in a rst attempt, distinguishes between (1) culture in the
sense of being cultivated, meaning civilized, (2) culture in the sense of creative, artis-
tic activity, and nally (3) culture as a universal system of meaning and orientation
typical of societies, organizations and groups.
A systematization of various concepts of culture, which attempts to trace their
historical references, contexts and boundaries, can be found in the work of Andreas
Perspectives for social science-oriented research on cultural phenomena
1) social (re-)production of cultural phenomena 2) inuence of cultural phenomena on societal
(including dynamics and change) reproduction and functional sectors of
Cultural governance-approach
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
Reckwitz (2004). Based on historical developments, Reckwitz distinguishes between
four types of denition of culture:
(1) Normative concepts of culture, which developed during the Enlightenment and
were aimed at the way of living of the new middle class with its ideals of education
and the development of the individual personality. These concepts are assumed to
contain “a universal standard of the cultivated, which secretly corresponds to the
culture of the middle-class” (Reckwitz 2004: 4).
(2) Totality-oriented, contextual or holistic concepts of culture: In these variations,
the concept of culture is contextualized and historicized: “Culture is no longer a
specic way of living, rather, cultures are specic ways of living of individual col-
lectives in history, and thus the concept of culture occurs in the plural” (Reckwitz
2004: 5). Prominent proponents of this concept of culture include Johann Gottfried
Herder and Edward B. Tylor as one of the founding fathers of North American
Cultural Anthropology. The US-American Berkeley School of Cultural Geography
around C.O. Sauer can also be classied as belonging to this concept. In contrast to
later oppositions of “culture” and “society”, cultures are conceived here as being ter-
ritorially bound and located in a specic place, and societies are identied with one
another (Reckwitz 2004: 5).
(3) Concepts of culture based on differentiation theory, sectoral theory or func-
tional differentiation theory, which developed out of the normative concepts of cul-
ture through conceptual limitations. This type of concept of culture is no longer
directed towards a comprehensive way of life, but towards highly cultural elds of
praxis such as theatre and art. This understanding of culture continues to determine
the everyday semantics of culture to this day. It describes a “socially differentiated
subsystem of modern society that specializes in intellectual and aesthetic interpreta-
tions of the world”. According to Reckwitz (2004: 6), the sectoral concept of culture
underwent a functionalistic reinterpretation, not least in the sociology of Talcott
(4) Meaning-oriented or knowledge and symbol-oriented concepts of culture: Reck-
witz subsumes under this category a series of concepts of culture, as they developed
in the Sozialwissenschaften and Kulturwissenschaften during the twentieth century.
Corresponding notions of culture are rooted in the approaches and work of the rst
half of the century, especially in phenomenology, in Ernst Cassirer’s (1923ff.) “Philo-
so phy of Symbolic Forms”, in hermeneutics, in the linguistic philosophy of Ludwig
Wittgenstein, and in the structural linguistic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure. After
1950, such approaches were thematically expanded within the Kulturwissenschaften
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 13
(for instance from linguistic philosophy to general cultural theory), radicalized and
synthesized; these approaches have remained fundamental to the kulturwissenschaft-
liche discussion until today and have shaped the perspectives of the Cultural Turns.
In this social constructivist view, the cultural portrays itself as those meaning
systems and differentiation systems which, “in their specic form of a ‘symbolic
organization of reality’, represent the necessary action constitutive background of
social practices”, according to Reckwitz 2004: 7). For Reckwitz, this new kultur-
wissenschaftliche concept of culture radicalizes the contingency perspective on the
cultural, which was present to varying degrees in older concepts of culture: cultural
systems are historically grown and therefore also contingent; in principle, they could
be shaped differently.
The construction of a meaning-oriented or knowledge and symbol-oriented con-
cept of culture as the concept of culture of contemporary Kulturwissenschaften
could obscure the fact that, in the end, several rather different concepts of culture
are brought together in this category, concepts that correspond to different research
goals, such as the language and discourse-oriented or praxis theory-oriented goals.
Specications of Concepts of Culture
In his overview, cited above, Reckwitz (2004) notably fails to mention Max Weber’s
notion of culture, although Weber’s notion, not least due to its reception by key
authors of the Cultural Turn such as Clifford geertz, continues to play an important
role in the kulturwissenschaftliche discussion to this day. It was Max weber who con-
nected the concept of culture to the concept pair “sense and meaning”, and who,
as early as the beginning of the twentieth century, clearly revealed the contingency
perspective of the concept of culture as delineated by Reckwitz (2004). In his well
known essay on the “objectivity” of knowledge in the social sciences and social poli-
tics, weber writes:
“‘Culture’ is a from the perspective of man a nite segment lled with sense and meaning
of the meaningless innity of world affairs” (Weber 1988, orig. 1922/1904: 180).
Weber elaborates on his notion of culture several lines later:
“Prostitution is a cultural phenomenon in the same way as religion or money, all three
because and only because and only to the extent that their existence and their historical
form affect our cultural interests directly or indirectly.” (Weber 1988: orig. 1922/1904:
2 Translation by Ruth Schubert.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
“Sense and meaning” are therefore dependent on the viewpoint of humans or, as
the case may be, human communities; for weber, culture is the ideational aspect of
human existence. However, even as a good “Weberian”, there is no obligation to
accept Weber’s notion that world affairs are a senseless innity; this is a non-scientic
and not a scientic opinion of Weber’s. Clifford Geertz‘ notion of culture stands in
the tradition of both Max Weber and Ernst Cassirer:
“In any case, the culture concept to which I adhere (…) denotes an historically transmitted
pattern of meanings embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed
in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their
knowledge about and attitudes toward life.” (Geertz 1973: 89)
In Geertz’ work, culture does not remain a pure sense and meaning matrix, but
expresses itself through symbols. The Geertzian metaphor of “culture as text” (see,
for example, Geertz 1983a, orig. 1972: 253) can be critiqued from the perspective
of action and praxis theory. This metaphor suggests that we should see the cultural
in a raried and puried logic of symbols, codes and texts (see Hörning 2004: 140).
However, this critique seems to be aimed less at Geertz himself than at his metaphor
which took on a life of its own in the broader kulturwissenschaftliche reception. In
Geertz it clearly has its foundation, its basis, in participatory research – and not in
the dissection of discourse fragments by a scholar sitting at his desk. Thus, in his
reections on Balinese cock ghts, it is not only the scenarios but also the moods, the
unrestrained, wild feelings, including those of the researcher, that become vivid for
the reader (see Geertz 1983a). Hörning (2004: 140) convincingly points out that the
concept of culture, at least the one developed by Geertz in his older key texts such
as “Thick Description” (1983, orig. 1973) or “Deep Play” (Geertz 1973), is too static:
contradictions or the existence of different “ways of reading” cultural symbols tend
to be disregarded.
The terms “sense” and “meaning” (German Sinn and Bedeutung), as used by Weber
and Geertz, and after them by countless other authors, have different meanings, or at
least a spectrum of meanings. According to my understanding, the terms “sense” and
“meaning” are frequently reduced in semiotic approaches to a restricted spectrum of
sense and meaning, related only to the cognitive interpretation of signs or codes. But
the German word Sinn (English “sense”) also has an existential dimension, as seen
in expressions such as Sinnkrise (identity crisis) or Sinnlosigkeit (futility). In Geertz’
denition, there is an echo of this existential dimension when he links cultural mea-
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 15
nings and symbols to human knowledge of life, or attitudes to life. As Johan Galtung
once put it, even if somewhat tersely:
“Culture is the symbolic aspect of human existence. Culture is representation through
symbols, usually optic or acoustic symbols, which are organized diachronically or syn-
chronically” (Galtung 1998: 187).
This denition attempt by one of the most unconventional thinkers and inuential
social scientists emphasizes the (at least potential) existential meaning of culture,
which is all too often “invisibilized” in semiotic approaches.
In addition to these denitions, there are many formulations in the more recent
lite rature which may at rst appear to be denitions, but are really controversial state-
ments aimed at clarifying certain aspects of what is cultural. This category includes,
for example, the following formulation:
“culture is the essential tool for making the other” (Abu-Loghd 1991: 146)3
or this formulation by the cultural geographer Don Mitchell:
“culture is politics by another name” (Mitchell 2000: 294).
Mitchell’s controversial equation of culture and politics seems particularly questio-
nable if it is taken too seriously, too literally, in other words when it is understood as
a kind of denition, or, in the language of Immanuel Kant, as a synthetic judgement.
It is sometimes stimulating (even though much too imprecise) for scholarly research,
in as far as it shows that the cultural and the political are, or can be, interlinked in
many different ways. Awareness of this fact is a basic feature of the approach to
cultural governance presented here. However, with such a simple equation it is not
possible to do justice to cultural or political practices, or their scholarly study.
The cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai (1996: 13) pleads in favour of an
“adjectival approach to culture, which stresses its contextual, heuristic, and compara-
tive dimensions and orients us to the idea of culture as difference”. The use of the
substantive culture makes Appadurai share responsibility for the development of an
inappropriate substantialization of the cultural in scholarly thought (loc. cit.: 12).
This concern is taken into account in the concept of cultural governance.
The dimension of the cultural, as understood in this conception, moves between
the level of fabrics of sense and meaning, and the level of practices (such as rituals,
performances), works, and material (or digital) artefacts in which these fabrics of
3 Quoted after Fuchs (2000: 21).
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
sense and meaning nd expression. Cultural practices and artefacts can be, but do
not have to be, expressions of existential meaning.
Reections on the linking of Kulturwissenschaften with the social sciences
The Kulturwissenschaften and the social sciences cannot be strictly separated, either
conceptionally or empirically, with respect to the institutions and scholars who repre-
sent them. While culture and society largely coincided in functionalist or structura-
list approaches, for instance in the anthropological studies of Lévi-Strauss, we will
consider culture and society here as two poles of a conceptual eld, as reciprocal
and indispensable corresponding concepts (Eickelpasch 1997: 12 ; see also Lippuner
2005) which are directly related to each other. While such an approach is still mean-
ingful today, it comes from an old tradition. Thus, the kultur wissenschaftlich cat-
egory of sense, which became a central concept with and after Max Weber, occupies
a prominent place in his theory of action. If kulturwissenschaftlich and “social
science-oriented” perspectives are also distinguished, in addition to “culture” and
“society”, a situation arises which is only apparently a paradox, where (1) “social”
issues are investigated from perspectives normally associated with the Kulturwissen-
schaften, or (2) research in the “cultural” eld is rmly tied to theoretical approaches
borrowed from the social sciences.
Reckwitz (2004) has developed a kulturwissenschaftlich4 research programme
(which is, however, not unproblematic), based on the so-called contingency perspec-
tive, or the idea that cultural phenomena are always contingent and could always be
otherwise. This programme is one-sided in that it ignores the fact that cultural phe-
nomena, as a result of their historical evolution, always contain orders, reect orders,
and are interwoven in complex ways with other cultural phenomena. This kulturwis-
senschaftlich research programme can be opposed to a sozialwissen schaftlich (social
science-oriented)5 research programme (for a discussion of culture from a sociologi-
cal perspective, see for instance Cappai 2001). I propose a basic “integrated” per-
spective for social science-based research in the Kultur wissen schaften, a perspective
which uses prominent social-science approaches such as action and practice theories,
or Giddens’ structuration theory (Giddens 1984), as well as ideas from historical
and sociological neo-institutionalism (see Hall/Taylor 1996; Scott 2008). Within this
conception, however, a special position will be accorded to the cultural sphere and
4 Kulturwissenschaftlich is the adjective form of the noun Kulturwissenschaften.
5 Sozialwissenschaftlich is the adjective form of the noun Sozialwissenschaften (German for
social sciences).
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 17
explicit concepts and ideas. Institutions are reproduced through agency or practices;
in them ideas and concepts are expressed.
Fig. 1: Key points of the proposed basic conception for social research, especially for social
and cultural geography
Ideas and concepts
In the basic conception proposed here, explicit emphasis is laid on the importance of
ideas and concepts in order to expand a purely sozialwissenschaftlich, structuration-
theory-based perspective into a basic conception that can also be usefully applied to
kulturwissenschaftlich research.
Ideas and concepts can be seen as nodes in the fabric of sense and meaning with
which attempts have often been made to dene the concept of culture. It is not neces-
sary to refer to Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony (Gramsci 1991) in order to
underline the importance of ideas for the shaping of societies and the way people act.
The theme of showing the importance of ideas for societies played a central role in
the work of Max Weber. Without taking up an idealist position, Weber refused to
believe that ideas and culture are completely subordinate to the economic situation,
as claimed in orthodox Marxism:
“People’s actions are directly controlled by interests (material and ideal), not by ideas. But:
‘worldviews’ created by ‘ideas’ have very often set the direction in which the dynamic of
the interests pushed the actions” (Weber 1920: 252).6
As Gabriele Cappai (2001: 81) puts it in her interpretation of Max Weber, the reali-
zation of ideas “always depends on a specic social context”, “which from time to
6 Translation by Ruth Schubert.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
time can facilitate, impede or even prevent the implementation of these ideas.” She
nds that “Weber’s great sociological achievement is that in any concrete historical
case he can show which actors help a specic idea to nd its ‘way’ into the world,
how this idea becomes established despite the resistance of ‘natural’ dispositions and
existing socio-cultural circumstances, and how it nally becomes implemented in
institutional terms.”
In daily actions, in daily practice, ideas and concepts function as cognitive sche-
mata; they can be tied to institu tions (as demonstrated for instance by the fact that
historical and socio logical neo-institutionalists show an interest in ideas), but they
can be separated analytically from institu tions. An idea or concept such as that of
World Heritage can “exist” (i.e. can occur in texts, discourses, reections, etc.) with-
out necessarily being reected in institutions.
Concepts or ideas thus have a twofold dialectical relationship with human agency
on the one hand, and institutions on the other hand: concepts or ideas have a discur-
sive inuence on human agency, shaping actions, whether consciously, practically or
unconsciously (see also Giddens 1984, Werlen 1997: 153). However, when actors take
up ideas and appropriate them for themselves, they can change them, or they can cre-
ate new ideas; they do not always have to act as passive recipients and actualizers of
discourses. There is also a dialectical relationship between ideas and concepts on the
one hand, and institutions on the other hand; but strictly speaking this relationship
is always mediated by human agency. Politi cal institutions (such as UNESCO) can
take up and spread ideas, and can also reshape them. Ideas and institutions mutually
“frame” each other (for a neo -Gramscian view, see Bøås/ McNeill 2004).
Ideas, symbols, concepts constitute one pole of the cultural sphere, while the other
pole is made up of actions and practices (especially rituals and performances) and
the material (or digital) artefacts in which concepts, ideas, senses and meanings are
Following this outline of the social science-oriented or basic kulturwissenschaftlich
conception proposed here, we will now proceed to discuss the concept of cultural
governance, i.e. the governance of what is cultural, a medium-range concept.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 19
2. The concept of governance
The topic of governance has given rise to a great amount of literature in the social
sciences. It has in common with other academic “buzz words”, such as sustainability,
that it has gained a normative charge, at least within its semantic eld, for instance in
the combination good governance. When new concepts appear in the social and politi-
cal sciences, this can be due to any of several reasons: (1) older concepts are perceived
as being decient, (2) in the eyes of scholars, the social and political circumstances
have been transformed in such a way that new terms are needed to describe them,
(3)scholars wish to distinguish themselves, and/ or (4) social actors outside academia
have a particular interest in the spread of a concept. With reference to the concept of
governance, all four of these points may be applicable.
Concepts of governance grew up in the Anglophone academic world in the 1980s
and 1990s, although the term also appears in older texts, for instance in Ruggie (1975).
The term governance was modelled on but deliberately distinct from the term govern-
ment, in the sense of a formal government or system of government. Both terms are
derived from the Latin gubernare (steer [ships], but also control, govern), which in
turn comes from the Greek verb kybernein, which means steering in the navigational
sense (see also Stokke 1997: 28). The increasing use of governance – by scholars in
the social and political sciences, as well as by politicians and political institutions
– can be seen as a reaction to the fact that the traditional terms of sovereignty and
government no longer appeared suitable for describing processes of making binding
decisions and enforcing them in the present era, which is sometimes referred to as
the second modern age, and sometimes as late or post modernity. And this applies
to political steering in local and regional contexts, as well as in the sphere of inter-
national politics.
Governance and government
On the one hand, the term governance marks a distinction from the notion of govern-
ment in the form of a legal ruling power that is based on an administrative apparatus,
while on the other hand governance as a more general term includes the concept of
government. It is used in this last sense in much of the literature produced in the
social sciences and political sciences, and also in this Working Paper.
The remarks made by Rosenau (1992) are helpful for any discussion of the con-
cept of governance:
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
“Governance (…) is a more encompassing phenomenon than government. It embraces
governmental institutions, but it also subsumes informal, non-governmental mechanisms
(…). Governance is thus a system of rule that is as dependent on intersubjective meanings
as on formally sanctioned constitutions and charters. Put more emphatically, governance
is a system of rule that works only if it is accepted by the majority (or, at least, by the
most powerful of those it affects), whereas governments can function even in the face of
widespread opposition to their policies” (Rosenau 1992: 4f.).
In Rosenau (1992), governance and government are treated neither as complete
opposites nor as a hierarchy, one being subordinate to the other. Analytically, or
from a formal point of view, his formulations are problematical; on the one hand, for
Rosenau, governance includes state (governmental) institutions, while on the other
hand governance and government are seen as polar opposites, as different forms
of steering. Government involves formal means of exercising power, while gover-
nance, on the other hand, means a communal system of rule on the basis of com-
mon convictions. By referring to different forms of rule, Rosenau was able to trigger
important debates, and to raise questions which, however, he is not able to answer
satisfactorily; for obeying an order issued by a government always contains an ele-
ment of voluntariness. Anyone who receives such an order can always decide not to
obey it, provided he or she is prepared to take the consequences (which of course can
be horric, at least in totalitarian dictatorships) (see for instance Galtung 1987: 118).
Conversely, outside idealized models of forms of governance, there are always some
elements of gentle pressure or force, at least when the forms of governance remain
stable over a certain period of time.
A prescriptive concept of governance (see for instance Commission on Global
Governance 1995: 4) may be appropriate and useful in political contexts, such as
the important report of the World Commission on Global Governance calling for
the establishment of a global order. But in the context of research in the social sci-
ences, it is problematic. In such research, it is fully legitimate to measure political
practices and institutions against normative standards; but a concept that is norma-
tively charged cannot be used as a general term for the description and analysis of
observed facts.7 It is better to describe a governance structure rst, and then subject
it, if necessary, to a normative evaluation, instead of using a positively connoted
concept from the start.
7 This is only possible when the normative concept can be thought of as part of a two-pole
pair of concepts that denes a continuum, such as peace and violent conict, or integra-
tion and disintegration. Such a construction is not possible when governance is used as
the more general term and includes government.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 21
Governance and regulation
The concept of governance shows differences from, but also possibilities of referring
to, the concept of regulation and the various regulation theories. The concept of regu-
lation can be used in a rather unspecic sense, such as in general system theory and
cybernetics (for an introduction, see Vester 1983). In the political sciences, the term
regulation usually means the binding regulation of social problems through political
decisions by means of incentives, requirements, prohibitions, ordinances and laws
(Dreher 2002: 804). The regulation school, which originated in France, sought to
explain the alternation of crisis and temporary stabilization in capitalist societies.
During (temporarily) stable economic phases, social institutions serve to regulate
relations between consumption and the regime of accumulation; their interaction is
referred to as the regulation regime. A regulation theory in this sense is not a general
theory of society; it is applicable only to modern capitalist societies and its analytical
capability has explicit chronological and spatial limits (Aglietta 1979: 22). In recent
studies, for instance of the regulation of societal relations to nature, use of the con-
cept of regulation is fuzzy and ambiguous, oscillating between the general political
concept of regulation based on system theory, and that of the economic regulation
school which originated in France.
The regulation theory (of French provenance) and the concept of governance
can both be located in the eld of institu tionalist theory (Simonis 2007: 212). In
some authors, such as Bob Jessop (2002), the two concepts are used largely synony-
mously, or there are mutual references between the two lines of theory and discussion
(Simonis 2007: 212). Beyond their common origin in institutionalist theories, the
concept of governance explicitly allows the inclusion of actor- and action-centred
perspectives in the analysis of social steering processes, more so than that of regula-
tion: from such a perspective, social steering takes place not only through anonymous
social institutions, but through concrete, namable, and not necessarily interchan gable
actors. There is an area of overlap between the general concept of regulation as used
in political science, and the concept of governance. It is thus justiable to consider
them as synonymous in certain contexts (but not in all contexts!). It is better to use
the concept of regulation in those cases or analyses where emphasis is on the social
steering of particular elds according to routine patterns, while the concept of gover-
nance is better for cases where attention is centred on active processes of negotiation
between actors.
Simonis (2007: 212) notes two other differences between the governance approach
and regulation theory: (1) While the concept of governance is ahistorical and uni-
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
versalistic, and can therefore be applied to other ages and to non-capitalist societies
(see also Adger/Jordan 2009: 11), regulation theory argues historically and materia-
listically. It is thus legitimate to inquire into governance (for instance, governance
of the way an important resource like water is managed), in societies such as that of
the M’zab valley in the Algerian Sahara (Schmitt 2008), in which forms of steering
ranging from the traditional and collective to those of the modern capitalist state
are superimposed on each other. However, it must be noted that the emergence and
popularity of the concept of governance also marks more recent historical develop-
ments, especially that of the increasing importance of non-state actors in interna-
tional politics, as well as regional and local politics.
Simonis’ (2007) rst objection is not valid if a general social-science concept of
regulation is used, rather than the specic concept dened by the regulation school;
this general concept can usefully be applied to pre-modern or hybrid societies, such
as that of the M’zab valley. Simonis (2007: 212f.) also underlines that (2) the price
paid for the openness of the governance approach is that it is unable to offer any
explanation for the emergence of, or changes in, forms of governance, in contrast to
the regulation school; it is an analytical concept and not a material medium-range
theory in respect of social processes. Conceptional thinness is thus the consequence
of its exibility and openness.
The regulation school uses the concept of mode de régulation (mode of regulation).
Swyngedouw (1997) denes this as those practices which dene the dynamic repro-
duction of, and changes in, social relationships. Each mode of regulation is thus
characterized by a set of formal and informal practices; according to Simonis (2007:
215), it is an institutionalized macro-social coordination mechanism. The dominant
mode of regulation in a particular society develops from social debates over the
learning processes involved in successful overcoming economic crises. By analogy,
we can regard different modes of governance as practices of governance which have
proved to work well. Measuring the extent to which particular modes of governance
are the result of successfully overcoming crises, requires critical historical reconstruc-
tion, and cannot be forecast beforehand. And situations can arise in which existing
forms of governance prove to be inappropriate for overcoming certain crises.
Governance as analytical concept versus normative category
Governance is understood here as an analytical concept for describing political pro-
cesses of negotiation and steering (see also Meckling 2004: 51). More so than “regu-
lation”, “governance” stresses the conscious negotiation and steering of situations
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 23
by actors. Hyden et al. (2004: 26f.) raise the question of whether a concrete form
of gover nance should be treated as a dependent or an independent variable. Any
concrete form of governance is embedded in a wider historical, socio-cultural and
economic context, and as a rule specic forms of governance build on earlier forms
of governance or regimes (see Hyden et al. 2004: 27). Nevertheless, the inuence of
the context, for instance, can become reduced in the course of the process of gover-
nance, or the process of governance can at least partially change these originally
given “contexts”.
Some governance approaches follow a very application-related perspective in
the sense of working out possibilities for “better” social and political steering in a
particular political eld (see for instance Renn 2009). Such an application-oriented
approach to problem solving is not at the basis of the cultural governance approach;
however, a greater theoretical penetration may be benecial to practitioners in the
corresponding eld of governance.
2.1 A general analytical framework for reconstruction of governance
processes from the perspective of the social sciences
A comprehensive analytical framework for the reconstruction of governance pro-
cesses is shown below (Tab. 2). Since the concept of governance can cover a broad
spectrum of forms of political steering from largely hierarchy-free negotiations,
according to Habermas’ ideal of communicative action (Habermas 1981), to the bor-
derline case of social steering in totalitarian regimes – the application of the concept
of governance to certain situations has at rst little signicance. It is therefore nec-
essary to be able to describe a process of governance or governance structure more
Analytical level Selected aspects of the analytical level
Object of governance
(sectoral dimension, issue
orientation; in constructivist
terms: framing)
identication of the eld of governance to be studied
from a constructivist perspective: study of the framing of the
particular eld of governance
Related, sometimes com-
peting elds of govern-
ance or regimes
identication of those elds of governance which in practice
have areas of overlap with the eld of governance to be
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
Analytical level Selected aspects of the analytical level
Involved/affected actors/
subjects and their actions/
practices and perceptions
identication of (key) actors and subjects in the eld of
gover nance to be studied
routine practices and/or intentional behaviour of these actors
formulated and unformulated interests and goals (espe-
cially in respect of eld of governance, governance process,
anchoring in the governance structure)
resources/power potentials/capital
action constraints
Institutions and rules
(including organized collec-
tive actors and organiza-
formal and informal institutions or rules
formal/ juristic versus empirical power of institutions to act
and to organize
“Embeddedness” of the
governance structure
Higher structures and institutions in which the governance
structure is embedded. These structures may appear to be
given, but often they can be changed and change themselves
over time.
Exogenous processes/
(Initially) exogenous processes and developments that inu-
ence the object of governance. The question is how far these
can be “internalized” in the governance.
Governance structure and
modes of governance
Top-down regulation and hierarchical coordination, in
extreme cases even authoritarian or totalitarian steering,
versus self-organization, steering by direct democracy or
equal consultation, bottom-up steering, steering by networks
and cliques
coordination by market and/or regulations and/or interven-
role of scales for governance structure; possibility of multi-
level governance
role of networks
Leading ideas/concepts or
discourses associated with
the elds of governance
identication of relevant ideas/discourses in the eld of
gover nance and in overlapping elds of governance
relationship between these ideas (e.g. complementary or
conictive) and their comparative position (e.g. hegemonic
or marginalized)
importance of the ideas for the process of governance (e.g.
as the driving force of action)
Governance culture trust versus mistrust between actors, their different points
of view, views of the governance process, degree to which
oriented by normative goals and procedural rules
opportunities for civil society actors to inuence governance
processes and results
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 25
Analytical level Selected aspects of the analytical level
Governance processes negotiation processes in relation to the eld of governance
changes in governance structures or modes (e.g. changes in
the actor structure, introduction of new rules)
Outcomes, effectivity physical and substantial, material, geospatial, energetic
institutional and juristic outcomes, establishment of rules
social, monetary, economic, political and cultural effects
desired and undesired or unintentional effects (a) in respect
of the formulated goals of governance, and (b) from the
point of view of the actors
efciency of governance with regard to set goals
Normative aspects of a
governance analysis
(a) with regard to governance structure and process:
principles of appropriate representation or participation of all
those who are involved or affected
procedural transparency and legitimacy, opportunities for
assigning responsibilities
(b) with regard to the outcome of governance
compliance with principles of justice and other norms
regarded as universal (especially recognized human rights,
social rights)
gender rights, sustainability
(other points, depending on the eld of governance and
research question)
Tab. 2: A general framework for the analysis of elds of governance
Prepared by the author
In what follows, the analytical levels briey presented in Table 2 will be discussed in
greater detail.
Object of governance (sectoral dimension, issue orientation)
The specic names given to governances are normally based on either different
political elds or areas (such as cultural governance, environmental governance, risk
gover nance), or territorial or administrative units (such as local governance, global
governance, landscape governance). These are areas which are socially constituted,
and in certain cases constituting the particular area socio-politically may even be one
of the main goals of the particular governance structure. The most interesting aspect
from a constructivist perspective is the framing of the eld of governance by actors
serving their own interests (see Bernecker 2005).
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
Connected, overlapping and in some cases competing elds of governance
The governance of a special area, for instance in the form of a regime, always has
a certain relation to other areas and processes. In the real social world, governance
elds overlap and may compete with each other (as in the case of conservation
manage ment and urban development). The overlapping area constitutes a new gover-
nance eld or arena (such as urban governance), in which the relationship between
these different governance elds is negotiated. Different political elds frequently
have conicting goals, and therefore require a further negotiation process, or gover-
nance process, in respect of achieving these goals. As a rule, competing governance
elds are reected in incompatible discourses. The analysis of sectoral governance
must thus include an analysis of competing governance elds, together with their
central actors and subjects, institutions and ideas. A good example is the “eternal”
institutional and discursive dispute between conservation management and urban
development, or the competing points of view which see cultural productions either
as cultural goods or commercial services, as revealed in the debates on the UNESCO
Convention on Cultural Diversity.
Social actors, agency, practices and perceptions
In any governance analysis, a prominent place must be given to discussion of the
actors – collective social actors such as authorities and decision-making bodies, but
also the individual actors working in them, with their perceptions, goals and interests,
routine practices, choices and constraints.
Institutions and rules
Institutions and rules can be understood as a special level in the analysis of gover-
nance processes. Governance analyses are based on an institutionalist theory para-
digm (Simonis 2007: 212). Historical and sociological neo-institutionalism serve
here as a basis for the discussion of institutions in governance processes (Hall/Taylor
1996; Scott 2008).
Governance structure and modes of governance
The governance structure or mode of governance can be considered as the aggre-
gated analytical description of the institutional constitution of a governance. The
market, the hierarchy or negotiation dialogues can be regarded as idealizing, funda-
mental forms of coordination of a governance; in reality, mixed forms can frequently
be observed. Top-down regulation corresponds to the classical image of govern-
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 27
ment; totalitarian regimes are an extreme case of top-down steering. In addition to
this, there are other possibilities, such as a system largely based on self-organization,
steering through forms of direct democracy or equal consultation. Corresponding
structures are associated with the concept of governance in a more narrow sense.
Informal networks or cliques can steer a form of governance, even when there is no
formal provision for such network structures. In addition to the mode of operation
of institutions, other structural moments are also signicant for the formation of a
governance structure, for instance the availability of certain technologies for com-
munication and face-to-face exchanges in global governance.
A particular governance process is not entirely determined by sets of rules such as
laws or international conventions. Moreover, they are as a rule embedded in a more
comprehensive set of rules and customs (for instance those of international diplo-
macy). Finally, it is possible that sets of rules no longer function as the driving force
of actions in the particular eld of governance, or that they are interpreted in a way
that is opposed to their original purpose.
Ideas/concepts and discourses
A governance perspective gives priority to the analysis of negotiation over a view
of social and cultural phenomena purely in terms of discourse analysis, in which
spea kers are regarded as exchangeable articulators of discourses, while discourses
undergo ontological charging. Nevertheless, governance processes are as a rule con-
stituted around the fundamental and concrete recognition and implementation of
norms and ideas; competing ideas, varied according to specic places or processes,
come together in them (see the treament of ideas and concepts in ch. 1.2). The discus-
sion of ideas within the framework of a governance analysis can use the methods of
discourse analysis, but should avoid absolutizing the discursive level for the under-
standing of social processes. It is important to show the genealogy of ideas, their
variations and their specic effect in the governance process to be studied, whether as
the driving force of action or in the shaping of institutions (ch. 1.2).
Key concepts and sets of rules in governance processes can be interpreted diffe-
rently and correspondingly altered over time. Thus, for example, ‘outstanding uni-
versal value’ is the key concept of the World Heritage Convention (unesco 1972), but
is subject to different interpretations even within the global arena of world heritage
governance (Schmitt 2009; 2011). It is important to examine such conceptional shifts
and competing interpretations of concepts, from both a political and a practical
point of view.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
Governance culture
The neologism “governance culture” is linked here to the established concept of
political culture. For example, by (local) political interpretative culture, Karl Rohe
(1987) understands the “sum of the – local – dominating problem-dening and prob-
lem-structuring interpretative models given in any particular case for the problem
perception of an individual, or of a collective”, and for problem denition in public
discourses (Anhut 2000: 462). The concept of governance culture refers to two con-
nected, but analytically separable aspects:
(1) Similar to the above understanding of political culture, a eld-dening and
problem-dening governance culture can refer to the customs which dominate in
respect of the choice of problems to be solved. One possible thesis (to be tested
empirically in each case) is that in the core institutions of a governance regime, rela-
tively uniform views are reproduced in this respect, while, for instance on the “lower”
levels of a multi-level governance system, different discoures or political elds meet
in various arenas and a dominating view, in the sense of higher regime concepts, rst
has to become established, or is prevented due to the hegemonic positions of other
(2) A procedural governance culture is related to the dominant action pattern and
attitudes that make up the mutual relations between the actors, and to the question
of which forms of coordination they aspire to. It is conceivable, for instance, that a
dominant group of actors aims at achieving solutions through dialogue or consensus,
while others aggressively try to exploit their power potential by imposing their own
views and interests in an authoritarian manner. A procedural governance culture is
basically accessible to a normative valuation.
As a rule, governance cultures are not homogeneous within a multi-level gover-
nance system, such as an international regime, but should be thought of as being
dependent on a specic place, scale or arena, even when it possible to identify over-
arching features and tendencies in the individual governance cultures.
Governance processes
Governance structures are subject to change and thus processual. The expression
“governance process” is related in its meaning to the concept of politics in political
science, and can refer to two areas: rstly, negotiation processes in the particular
eld of governance (analogous to the term policy), and secondly the rules, institu-
tions, structures and constitutions according to which the governance is organized
(analogous to polity). These rules and structures can be changed, either explicitly
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 29
through negotiation processes, or insidiously through gradual changes in everyday
practice. It is conceivable that new actors enter the governance process and change
it substantially. An example of this would be an expansion of the G7 or G8 group
in international politics to form a G20. Even when the constitution of a governance
structure is formally unchanged, it can be altered through changes in practice. An
example here is the “Round Table” between the civil rights movement and the state
and party leadership in the GDR, which de facto ruled the GDR for several months
in 1989/90, even though the constitution remained formally unchanged.
Outcomes of governance
Unlike policy analyses and studies based on regime theory, governance analyses are
in many cases not concerned with the material effects so much as the reconstruction
of processual and institutional correlations of political negotiations. Nevertheless,
it seems justiable and useful to include in governance analyses a consideration of
the effects of different forms of governance. For this purpose, relevant notions from
poli cy research or regime theories can be used. In a rst step, it is possible to distin-
(1) physical and material, spatial and energetic effects, as well as social (socio-cul-
tural, economic) effects on the affected subjects
(2) institutional, especially political and juristic effects, and
(3) discursive effects of governance processes
(Jänicke et al. 1999: 62-65). It is also possible to use concepts from effect analysis in
policy research.
Normative aspects of governance analysis
Effect analysis alone of governance processes can take on a decidedly normative
character. Normative questions can concern, for instance, the “material” results of
the governance, but also the governance process and the governance structure on
which it is based. This includes questions about the fair representation or participa-
tion of all those who are involved or affected, procedural transparency and legiti-
macy, and the possibility of clear accountability. The question of compliance with
norms considered to be universal, such as human rights, including gender rights, can
be raised in the effect analysis and in the procedural analysis. In such an analysis, the
normative aspect of the concept of governance appears again, as it is known from
terms such as good governance.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
3. Cultural Governance
At rst glance, cultural governance appears to be no different from any other sectoral
eld of governance, such as environmental governance or risk governance. However,
in view of the central position of the concept of culture in the social sciences and
Kulturwissenschaften or humanities (ch. 1), we must be cautious here. If culture is
understood as a code, as a reference to overarching sense and meaning relationships
in human practices and institutions, then a cultural-governance approach would be
equivalent to a reconstruction of the social steering of the production of sense and
meaning. Such an approach would provide a specic form of access to central ques-
tions in the social sciences and the Kulturwissenschaften. If, on the other hand, cul-
tural governance is taken as referring to the everyday term of (high) culture, then
a cultural-governance approach would be restricted to the reconstruction of poli-
tico-social steering of institutions or areas such as theatre, opera, art and classical
music. If we add lm and media, popular music, and perhaps language and educa-
tion, we have approximately the same eld that is generally subject to cultural poli-
cies (see for instance Auswärtiges Amt 2007); in this case, we would be dealing with
a sectoral understanding of cultural governance. Different cultural concepts (see ch.
1.2) can thus be set against corresponding understandings of cultural governance
(Tab. 3); depending on which concept of culture is taken as the basis, “narrow” and
“wide” concepts of cultural governance are conceivable. The order in which the items
are mentioned in Table 3 reects an attempt to take this aspect into account, but it
should not be taken as dogmatic. Moreover, the items named do not represent fully
disjoint areas, but areas which may overlap. “Film”, for instance, can be both an
artistic medium and a product of the “culture industry”.
3.1 A genealogy of ideas about cultural governance
The cultural-governance approach involves a comparatively new concept, and can
therefore claim to regard its objects from a certain new perspective. But academic
reection on the social, political or economic steering of cultural phenomena is as
old as sociology as an academic discipline for the study of “modern” societies. Thus,
the approach to cultural governance is part of a long tradition in the social sciences
of reecting on culture and its relationship to social sub-areas such as politics and
the economy. It is not the intention of the present study to co-opt older theoretical
traditions into the service of the concept of cultural governance. It is plausible to
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 31
Possible objects of cultural governance
→ Institutions and performances/reproductions of established
high culture, especially museums, theatre, opera, literature
→ Cultural heritage
→ Film, television, modern or contemporary music and
architecture, as well as established minor art forms of an
explicitly artistic nature
→ Popular culture, folk culture, traditional (non-Western)
cultural forms, cultural forms of expression in the lower social
→ Film, television, music industry, internet culture, mass media,
“culture industry”
→ Religion, religious forms of expression
→ Languages and cultural forms of expression in multi-ethnic and
multi-cultural, or colonized societies, including marginalized
and suppressed cultural and religious traditions
→ Production of symbols, and creation of sense and meaning, in
“non-cultural” (in the general sense) social spheres: economy,
sectoral concept of
cultural governance
wide concept of
cultural governance
Tab. 3: Different objects of cultural governance, depending on which concept of culture is
(see also Schmitt 2009; Schmitt 2011)
assume that in the long term the academic discussion will go beyond the concept of
governance and replace it by new conceptions. But reection on the social steering of
culture will continue as long as the social sciences continue to exist. In this modest
sense, and in full awareness of the contingency of our own choice of concept, we will
attempt to outline some of the stations in sociological thought on the social steering
of culture, based on an admittedly small number of authors and theoretical tradi-
Max Weber
Max Weber’s concept of culture has already been discussed in ch. 1.2. For Weber, the
“cultural meaning” of an object is attributed to it by the individual, the society, the
researcher or the scientic community. Max Weber left us nothing that we could take
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
as a conception of cultural governance avant la lettre. But in his studies, for instance
on the sociology of religion, and in his conceptional reections, his work shows what
complex interrelations exist between the political, the economic, and, for instance,
the religious spheres. The originality of Weber’s thought, according to Gabriele Cap-
pai (2001: 80), can also be seen in the fact that he distanced himself equally from
historical materialism, which interpreted social and cultural realities as the product
of economic relations in the “vulgar” Marxist base-superstructure model, and from
idealist notions, which considered society and its historical development purely as an
expression of the inuence of ideas. Weber regards both perspectives as one-sided,
but accepts them as legitimate driving forces for research, provided they are thought
of as being not absolute, but complementary, or as limited and incomplete “medium-
range” approaches, and not as comprehensive theories (Cappai 2001: 80). For social
research as a whole, and therefore also for attempts at the study of cultural gover-
nance, Weber proposes that the interplay of social processes between ideas, institu-
tions, and actors or actions/practices, should be carefully observed, and not identi-
ed on the basis of conceptional prejudices before empirical analysis.
A sober view, in Weber’s sense, may be helpful in considering theoretical approaches
that tend to regard the relationship between culture and other social areas from a
certain perspective only. Besides traditional Marxism, this also includes consistent
formulations of neo-Gramscianism.
Antonio Gramsci
The unorthodox Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) did not formulate a
closed social and cultural theory of his own; this was the programme of the (neo-)
Gramscians, who took Gramsci’s proposals as the starting point for their reections
on the role of culture and ideas, not only in national politics, but also, by transfer-
ence, in international politics.
At the beginning of the 1980s, after reading Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks,8 the
political scientist Robert Cox rendered the concept of hegemony fruitful for the the-
ory of international relations (IR) in a new way, and in a way distinct from “realistic”
understandings of hegemony. As an unorthodox Marxist, Antonio Gramsci reected
on the concept of hegemony with respect to the political processes in Europe after
the Bolshevist revolution. One question which occupied Gramsci in the 1920s was
that the bourgeoisie as the ruling class in Western Europe – unlike in pre-revolu-
8 See for instance gramsci (1991, orig. 1926).
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 33
tionary Russia – was supported not only by the institutional coercive apparatus of
the state; according to Gramsci’s analysis, it also had the concepts and ideas which
ensured its privileged position, for instance the concepts of private property and the
capitalist economy. These concepts were also anchored in the heads of the middle
and lower social strata, by means of social institutions such as the Church, schools
and the media. Gramsci described the position of the bourgeoisie as hegemonic; the
essential concepts which supported the position of the bourgeoisie, were accepted
by the lower social classes. However, according to Gramsci, this acceptance obliged
the middle-class élite to make allowances for the interests of the working class and
the lower middle class, which led to the emergence of different forms of social demo-
cracy, so that capitalism appeared acceptable to the lower social classes (see Cox
1996, orig. 1986: 126). The power supporting the ruling class was not only that of the
state apparatus with its coercive instruments, but also that of consensual hegemony.
For Gramsci, such a hegemony is sufcient to ensure the compliancy of the majority
of people in most situations (Cox 1996a: 127).
Antonio Gramsci is important for reections on cultural governance because he
developed specic ideas about the function of cultural institutions within society.
His ideas offer promising approaches for broad concepts of cultural governance (see
Tab. 3), or which culture different social groups see as providing basic structures of
sense and meaning. But these approaches are problematic if read in the manner of
orthodox Marxism, i.e. the cultural sphere alone is interpreted as an instrument of
material interests, analogous to orthodox Marxism. In respect of neo-Gramscianism,
the same reserve is to be recommended as Max Weber adopted with regard to a
one-sided historical materialism. Gramsci does not provide the social sciences with a
gene ral model of cultural governance, but he shows how, in certain historical situa-
tions, specic cultural hegemonies can arise and become powerful in societies.
Frankfurt school: mass culture, culture and administration
The Frankfurt school produced some of what are still the most inuential studies,
devoted to a consideration of the position of art and cultural production under the
conditions of “modern” capitalist societies. These studies showed how the emergence
of new technical media, such as lm, radio, and nally television, affected cultural
and artistic production and cultural perception patterns. The authors of the “criti-
cal” theory of the Frankfurt school had experienced such different socio-cultural
contexts as the Weimar period, the Nazi regime, US-American exile (with its Hol-
lywood cinema culture), and the early Federal Republic. Cultural production was
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
not only changed by the new technologies, as the title of Walter Benjamin’s (1981,
orig. 1936) well known essay might suggest: “The work of art in the age of its techni-
cal reproducibility”. Above all, it was the capitalist mode of production which used
the new technologies to exploit cultural production to an unheard of degree for its
own prot-making purposes, and thus created a “mass culture”; in the “Dialectic of
Enlightenment” (2002, orig. 1947), Horkheimer and Adorno introduced the meta-
phorical concept of the “culture industry”, which later found its way into UNESCO
documents. The rst remarkable thing is that, far from rejecting traditional and mod-
ern high culture and art as the expression and attempted legitimation of exploitative
social relations, in the manner of vulgar Marxism, Adorno shows appreciation of
them. For Adorno, culture and art can take up a position that is critical of society.
Adorno defends the concept of the autonomous work of art, which organizes itself
as “meaningful and consistent” in accordance with its “immanent laws” (Adorno
1997a, orig. 1965/1967: 370); the cultural sphere thus has its own value. For him, the
sociology of art, as its name suggests, deals with all aspects of art and society; this
means especially the social effects and non-effects of art (loc. cit.: 367), but also the
manifold social backgrounds of the development of art (loc. cit.: 371). The products
of the culture industry have little in common with the work of art which obeys its
own laws. The historical novelty brought about by the phenomenon of the culture
industry was that it transferred “the naked prot motive to the cultural creation”
(Adorno 1997, orig. 1963: 338). It is true that in earlier times artistic production
frequently enabled the artist to earn a living, so that the work of art had a partially
goods-like character, even before the age of technology and capitalism. Works of art
produced “in the style of the culture industry [on the other hand] are not also goods,
but they are goods through and through” (loc. cit., emphasis in original). In accord-
ance with the aims of the critical theory, Adorno directs his main attention towards
the social consequences of the emergence of a mass culture shaped by capitalist
interests, which he characterizes as “anti-enlightenment”, or “mass deception”, and
which has a regressive effect on the individual (loc. cit.: 344f.). The culture industry
“tends to surround and capture the awareness of the public from all sides” (Adorno
1997b, orig. 1953: 507). The representation of objects in the culture industry has an
effect on the objects themselves; the designated object is changed by its designation
as a product of the culture industry:
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 35
“The colour lm demolishes the cosy old inn more than bombs ever could: the lm destroys
its imago. No homeland can survive its treatment in the lms that celebrate it” (Adorno
1997, orig. 1965/1967: 342).9
Artists” such as actors, for instance, continue to be involved in the production of the
culture industry; the production process is not free of conicts; as a rule, capitalist
prot interests win over artistic interests. The “social, technical, artistic aspects” of
cultural production “cannot be treated in isolation” (Adorno 1997b, orig. 1953: 507).
They inuence cultural forms, their content and their social effects.
In an essay published in 1960, Adorno dealt with a different topic, which is impor-
tant for an understanding of cultural governance, namely the relationship between
“culture and administration.” Adorno begins with a sentence which is (and especially
at that time was) surprising: “Whoever says culture, also says administration, whether
he wants to or not” (Adorno 1972, orig. 1960: 122). Adorno rst justied this with
the argument that the “joining together of such different things as philosophy and
religion, science and art, conduct of life and customs” under the single term of cul-
ture, betrays “the administrative eye”, “which collects, classies, weighs, organizes all
this, from above” (loc. cit.); there are parallels here between the critical theory of the
early 1960s and Fou cault’s later ideas. Thus, political and administrative institutions
conceptually “frame” cultural production. In this essay, Adorno refers to a concept
of culture in the sense of middle-class high culture, including avant-garde art; in con-
trast to “Dialectic of Enlightenment”, he is less interested here in the mass culture
of the culture industry that is steered by capitalism. In this essay, Adorno goes on
to say that culture “is the opposite of administration, especially in German eyes. It
aspires to be something higher and more pure, something that is untouched, that has
not been cut to shape in order to satisfy certain tactical or technical considerations”
(Adorno 1972, orig. 1960: 122).
For Adorno, this administration, or, as one might put it, the political and social
governance of culture, is on the one hand insolubly problematic: culture suffers
“when it is planned and administered” (loc. cit.: 123). However, Adorno then takes a
surprisingly positive turn regarding the relationship or the “dialectic of culture and
administration” (loc. cit.: 127): if culture is not administered and “if it is left to itself”,
then there is a risk that “everything cultural” will lose “not only the opportunity to
be effective, but its very existence” (loc. cit.: 123). The administration in capitalist
societies, meaning as a rule the executive bodies of the state or local authorities, can
9 Translation by Ruth Schubert.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
create the conditions in which culture can survive, at least in niches, outside market
conditions and manipulated mass taste. Towards the end of his essay, Adorno (1972:
145) comes to the conclusion: “If the administered world has to be understood as one
in which there are no longer any secret retreats, it can on the other hand, by virtue of
the provisions of shrewd individuals, create centres of freedom such as are eliminated
by the blind and unconscious process of simple social selection.” Thus, the social
“rescue” of culture by political and administrative institutions does not follow any
superior logic or goal of these institutions; rather, it occurs as an exception − but a
momentous one − when convincing actors or personalities succeed in making use of
the modest freedoms and resources offered to them by political and administrative
institutions, for the benet of culture.
Adorno’s essay points out that when coordination of the social production of cul-
ture and meaning is left to market mechanisms, this leads to a levelling in the sense of
mass culture production. In late capitalist societies, only state intervention is capable
of protecting the creation of sophisticated forms of culture, even if this effect is not
due to a systematic characteristic of the whole administrative apparatus. One could
say that this focus on “shrewd individuals” allows the transition from a structure-
oriented to an actor-centred approach; the many individuals taken together seem to
unfold a social process that is not just of marginal signicance. It is their normative
patterns of orientation, their intuition, and their culturalization, which make possi-
ble the social (re-)production of qualitatively meaningful cultual forms.
Adorno’s reections are not only a contemporary diagnosis of the situation in
respect of the new, but as yet poorly considered phenomenon of a quasi-industrially
structured culture industry. The effect on international cultural policy of the cultural
analyses contained in the “Dialectic of Enlightenment” by Adorno und Horkheimer
is shown by the fact that UNESCO appropriated their ideas concerning the impo-
verishment of culture through its commodication, as propounded by the exponents
of the Frankfurt school (Tomlinson 1997: 119), while the culture-industry concept
introduced by Adorno and Horkheimer was taken up in UNESCO documents, for
instance in the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Diversity, and
was even dened in this convention (unesco 2005: Art. 4).
The “unease” expressed by Adorno in the face of administered culture reappears,
if not as a concept at least as a gure of thought, in the current international debates
on the protection of intangible traditions. The UNESCO Convention for the Safe-
guarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (unesco 2003) is intended
to protect local cultural traditions from disappearing as a result of social processes
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 37
of modernization, in other words as a result of the forces associated with market
conditions and manipulated mass taste as described by Adorno. But how can the
spontaneous character of intangible traditions be preserved when they are admin-
istered, distinguished with the label of an international organization, and made the
object of action plans that are supposed to administratively ensure their continued
existence? (see also Goytisolo 2001; Schmitt 2005).
The regulation of culture in British Cultural Studies
Cultural Studies in Britain is concerned with the production und social steering of
cultural forms and artefacts. In this subchapter we will take a look at a research
programme presented jointly at the end of the 1990s by several authors under the
direction of Stuart Hall in the six-volume Open University series “Culture, Media
and Identities”. This programme enjoyed a relatively broad reception, and is directly
related to the question of cultural governance. The authors name “ve central cultural
processes” or situations as basic to their analysis of objects, these being (1)represen-
tation, (2) identity, (3) production, (4) consumption and (5) regulation. In addition to
the cultural artefact’s public representation (“how it is presented”), its contribution
to the construction of social identity (“what social identities are associated with it”)
is of interest, as well as the background and circumstances of its own production and
consumption (“how it is produced and consumed”), and nally the regulation of the
cultural artefact and its use and formation through social, governmental and eco-
nomic institutions (“what mechanisms regulate its distribution and use”) (du Gay et
al. 1997: 3). These concepts are arranged in a circular fashion, the “circuit of culture”
(Fig. 1). According to the authors, a comprehensive study of a cultural text or a cul-
tural artefact, a “cultural study” (du Gay et al. 1997: 4) of a specic object, requires
passing through all the stations of this cultural circuit.
In the rst volume of the “Culture, Media and Identities” series, the culture-circuit
model is demonstrated in practice, using the example of what was a comparatively
new cultural artefact in the 1990s, the Sony Walkman. The authors show how each
station in the circuit must be visited, but that any station can be taken as the starting
point. The circular arrangement of the concepts is signicant because for analyses
involving one concept, the neighbouring concepts are necessarily also important. The
circuit of culture is thus a heuristic model in which there is much overlap between
individual analyses relating to particular stations.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
One volume in the series is devoted to discussing cultural regulation (Thompson
1997); since governance and regulation are closely related concepts (ch. 2), it seems
likely that we may nd stimulation here for a concept of cultural governance.
Fig. 2: The “Circuit of Culture” as a heuristic concept for cultural analysis in the series of
books “Culture, Media and Identities”
Source: After Thompson (1997a: 3), see also du Gay et al. (1997). In Thompson (1997) the concept
of regulation occupies a central position and is therefore emphasized in this variant of the graphic
representation of the circuit of culture.
The authors of the series use the concept of cultural regulation in loose reference
to the economic regulation school of French provenance. But at the same time they
reject its economic regulation theory as a general basis for the analysis of cultural
objects (Thompson 1997a: 3). In general, regulation, or cultural regulation, is linked
by the authors to cultural politics, and to the (not necessarily unchanged) reproduc-
tion of structures:
“Regulation has a number of meanings, depending on the context. It can refer to some-
thing as specic as government policies and regulations (and their change or abolition, as
in policies of de-regulation). At other times it has the more general sense of the reproduc-
tion of a particular pattern and order of signifying practices (so that things appear to be
‘regular’ or ‘natural’). The study of forms of regulation inevitably raises questions both of
cultural policy (by some regulating authority) and of cultural politics, involving struggles
over meaning, values, forms of subjectivity and identity” (Thompson 1997a: 3).
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 39
The continuation of this passage shows that according to this view cultural regulation
is multi-factorial. Economic inuences and power structures, but also the actions of
individual and cultural actors have an inuence on the results of cultural regulation:
“Regulation does not mechanically reproduce the status quo. It is a dynamic process that
is often contested, and while the outcome is likely to be affected by economic pressures
and power structures, we will argue that it also depends on specic circumstances and on
the creative actions of individuals and groups” (Thompson 1997a: 3).
In the papers on cultural regulation in Thompson (1997), reference is made to dif-
ferent schools of thought, depending on the cultural area (such as media, leisure
culture, sexual morality, cultural imperialism), in order to be able to grasp different
cultural regulations. The prominent cultural theorists referred to include representa-
tives of critical theory (Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Jürgen Habermas),
as well as Antonio Gramsci, and among the French post-structuralists especially
Michel Foucault. The debate on cultural globalization which began in the 1990s had
a broad echo, and was actively encouraged by scholars in the eld of cultural stu dies
(see Hall 1997; Tomlinson 1997). While critical theory between the 1940s and the
1960s was mainly concerned in its cultural analysis with the relationship between the
mass media, mass culture, the state and the public, British cultural studies, although
continuing to show an interest in these topics, also addressed contemporary issues of
multi-culturalism and cultural globalization in the 1990s, which were far less impor-
tant for the critical theory of the 1960s.
The volume entitled “Media and Cultural Regulation” (Thompson 1997) treats a
variety of topics in its attempt to explain the concept of cultural regulation, and, at
least implicitly, the analyses seem to be based on a number of different concepts of
regulation. In one chapter there is a discussion of various leisure policies practised in
England from the 18th century to the present. Here, the relations between economic
production and cultural regulation can be most clearly shown by reference to the
theoretical programme of the economic regulation school (Thompson 1997b: 18-24;
Henry 1993). In the book’s concluding chapter, Stuart Hall demonstrates that while
cultural forms of expression are regulated by other social subareas (industry, the
state) and by different groups of actors, the daily practice of individuals is steered
by cultural norms. Regulation here means “governing cultures” (Hall 1997: 227) or
“governing the conduct of cultural life” (Hall 1997: 233). Due to culture’s central
position – for “it is culture which governs us” (Hall 1997: 232, emphasis in original)
– the question of the regulation of culture gains special signicance. Here, Hall intro-
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
duces the concept of the “governance of culture” (1997: 227) rather incidentally, by
equating the concept of cultural policy with the “regulation and governance of cul-
ture”, and referring briey to the central questions and themes treated in the volume:
This volume “has discussed various aspects of cultural policy – the regulation and gover-
nance of culture – with respect to broadcasting and the broadcasting institutions; censor-
ships of the arts; the relationship of minority cultures to ‘mainstream’, national cultural
traditions; control of the international ow of cultural goods and images; the regulation
of morality and representations of sexuality (…). It has also asked broader questions
(…) about modes of cultural regulation in general. What is the relation between ‘culture’
and other forces which exert a controlling, shaping or determining force over culture?
Is it primarily politics, the economy, the state, the market which is the determining factor
in relation to culture?” (Hall 1997: 227).
Thus, Hall proposes a programme for applying the concept of cultural regulation
which can also be signicant for the concept of cultural governance. However, the
concept of cultural governance used by Hall (1997) at the end of this volume is
not explained further, nor the relation between governance and regulation. This also
applies to the remarkable article by Thompson (2001) entitled “Cultural Studies,
Critical Theory and Cultural Governance”, in which he discusses references to the
critical theory of the Frankfurt school by scholars in British cultural studies. Despite
his title, in the text Thompson (2001) uses the terms cultural regulation and cultural
policy rather than that of cultural governance; the meaning of cultural governance
seems to oscillate between the two concepts, or to be a kind of umbrella term cover-
ing them both. In any case, the adoption of the concept of cultural governance by
scholars of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies allowed them to use their
own concepts of cultural regulation for shaping an idea of cultural governance, with-
out this appearing to be an inadmissible usurpation of a tradition of thought.
However, their simple conception of the circuit of culture is not unproblematic.
To a certain degree, it appears to have been presented as an alternative to classic cul-
tural analyses, for instance in the eld of art history, where great weight was attached
to the person of individual cultural actors (whether artists or patrons), their motives
and the concepts and ideas they wanted to express. The same applies to the material
properties and aesthetic effects of cultural objects. These aspects may be captured
in individual analyses in cultural studies, for instance in respect of the production
of cultural objects. But there is something unsatisfactory about the fact that they
remain invisible in the central conception of the circuit of culture.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 41
3.2 Existing denitions of cultural governance
In the existing literature, the concept of cultural governance – sometimes also called
culture governance is used in different ways. This chapter offers an overview of
these different uses, followed by a presentation of my own concept of cultural gover-
nance in relation to these authors and to the theoretical traditions outlined in ch. 3.1.
Cultural governance as sectoral cultural policy. Cultural policy as an example of cultu-
ral governance
Jae Moon (2001: 432f.) denes cultural governance in a sense that can be broady
understood as government cultural policy, especially the promotion of culture by the
government, so that it is more or less synonymous with cultural policy:
“Cultural governance (…) is dened as government’s direct or indirect involvement in the
promotion and administration of programs of cultural organizations (including muse-
ums) existing in specic geographic boundaries with unique nancial and administrative
In his article, Moon (2001) makes a comparative study of the organization of cultural
promotion and cultural policies, including their nancing, in three specic “cultural
districts” in the USA. Moon focuses mainly on the promotion of institutions asoci-
ated with high culture (concert halls, theatres, museums), but also includes libra-
ries, gardens and educational institutions. In this study, Moon uses a fairly narrow
concept of culture (see also Tab. 3). His concept of cultural governance largely cor-
responds to that of sectoral cultural policy, related to socially accepted cultural or
artistic practices. However, Moon’s formal denition of cultural governance appears
to be too narrow, since it refers only to the national level and the level of the subor-
dinate regions, but not international cultural policy.
If we take the example of the Federal Republic of Germany to examine sectoral
cultural policy, it can be seen that cultural policy changed along with a changing
understanding of the concept of culture. The ‘68 movements in Western Europe and
the USA encouraged new social Utopias, new notions of a “good”, equitable society,
and nally developed their own cultural codes and forms of expression. Under the
impression of the ‘68 movement and the social-democratization of federal German
politics between 1969 and 1982, certain cultural forms, such as the protest song or
political cabaret, developed an extraordinary vitality and were actively encouraged –
in differing degrees depending on the political tendency – on the local political and
administrative level (see the discussion in ch. 3.1 on Adorno 1972, orig. 1960). “Cul-
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
tural policy is social policy”: this programmatic statement was made around 1970
by Alfons Spielhoff, Dortmund’s city councillor in charge of cultural affairs.10 The
government’s traditional policy of promoting the representative culture of the edu-
cated middle classes did not come to an end, but was extended to include new goals:
participation in this public representative culture was to be democratized, and mon-
etary and social barriers were to be removed (“culture for all!”). Moreover, with an
extended concept of culture, new cultural forms of production, or ones which up to
then had been rather marginalized, also received public attention, and emphasis was
laid on the importance for social identity of everyday cultural production. In the
1970s local cultural policy worked with a changed concept of culture that became
accepted in society. In contrast to Moon (2001), the understanding of cultural policy
we are dealing with here cannot simply be equated with cultural governance; rather,
cultural policy on the national and local levels is an important part of the elds of
governance that are concerned with culture. The example of local cultural policy
from the 1970s to the present day also clearly reveals the possibilities and limits of
state inuence on cultural governance: it seems that state actors can effectively sup-
port existing trends, but in the medium term they are scarcely able to implement a
cultural policy that goes against the trend, i.e. against the culturally dominant spirit
of the times. A study of shifts in cultural policy on the local level in the Federal
Republic of Germany since about 1970 provides useful material for reecting on cul-
tural governance. It shows what kind of inuence public cultural policy can have on
cultural production, and that public cultural policy itself is also affected by cultural
developments and upheavals in society. With its available resources, it can contribute
to shaping and inuencing these developments, and can either reinforce or attenuate
Culture governance as cultural management and a political form of steering in the
reexive modern age
Henrik Bang (2004) uses the concept of culture governance in a very specic sense:
for him culture governance is a “new kind of top down leadership and management”
(Bang 2004: 159):
“Culture governance is about how political authority must increasingly operate through
capacities for self- and co-governance and therefore needs to act upon, reform, and utilize
individual and collective conduct so that it might be amenable to its rule” (Bang 2004:
10 Quoted after Pankoke (2004: 26).
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 43
In Bang, culture governance appears as a normative concept and meta-concept for
established notions such as good governance, interactive governance or human resource
management (loc. cit.:159). However, Bang is not concerned with the creation of bet-
ter strategies for applied culture management as practised by decision-makers, as
one might think at rst glance. Rather, he discusses and problematizes colonization
of the public political space by more recent communication- oriented strategies of
the top-down governing type, which subordinates everyday policy-making to its own
logic of success. Bang’s argumentation is reminiscent of Habermas’ (1981) metaphor
of colonization of the lifeworld by functional social systems; here, the colonization
of politics takes place through sophisticated government techniques involving dia-
logue, under the watchword of governance, such as have become fashionable in the
reexive modern age. However, Bang’s designation of this “development” as culture
governance appears to be poorly motivated and not very plausible. It refers to more
recent research approaches to governance, according to which certain discourses and
“competing sets of convictions” inuence the work of public administration (Bang
2004: 157). We could ask, however, which forms of power this does not apply to. On
the level of academic description, we could also ask how far it is possible to regard
as new the insight that the actions of members of the public administration are inu-
enced by “sets of convictions”.
Cultural governance in the eld of post-colonial studies
The concept of cultural governance appears in works which can be placed in the
broad eld of post-colonial studies. The concept is found, for instance, in the subtitle
of Michel Shapiro’s (2004) monograph “Methods and Nations”, which describes the
role of cultural production, whether landscape painting or the lm industry, in the
homogenization of nation states or the creation of national identity. Thus, Shapiro’s
work basically continues Edward Said’s works “Orientalism” (2003, orig. 1978) and
“Culture and Imperialism” (1994, orig. 1993), in which the latter examines, among
other things, the direct and the implicit legitimization of colonialism in Western lite-
rature and painting. Referring to Shapiro (2004), David Campbell (2003: 57) under-
stands cultural governance as a
“set of historical practices of representation – involving the state but never fully controlled
by the state – in which the struggle for the state’s identity is located.”
Here, cultural production serves to help spread certain ideas, in particular natio-
nal ideologies, but also the collective material interests of privileged classes, as in
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
Gramsci’s concept of hegemony. While the programmes proposed by Shapiro and
Campbell are certainly academically exciting and important, Campbell’s denition
of cultural governance can be linked only in part to customary uses of the concept of
governance. Both authors are mainly concerned with practices of representation that
are connected with those of social steering, regulation or governance, but which can
be separated from them analytically (see the concept of the circuit of culture in Fig.
1). Shapiro and Campbell understand culture not as an object so much as a medium
of governance or political steering; their programmes are concerned with governance
by culture rather than governance of culture. In any case, assumptions about reality,
about what is right and wrong, which Johan Galtung (1996 Part III) would refer to
as deep cultural patterns, are expressed in political forms of steering and processes of
negotiation and between actors.
The above denitions of cultural governance are characterized by the fact that
they fail to reect the multi-layeredness of the concept of culture.
3.3 On the conception and operationalization of cultural governance in the
social sciences: a research programme
For the reconstruction of cultural governance structures and processes, the same
principles and procedures should apply as have been formulated in a general way for
the reconstruction of governance in the social sciences in ch. 2. These include equal
consideration of (1) actors/individuals and their actions/practices, (2) institutions
and structural moments, and (3) discourses and concepts/ideas. Processes of cultural
governance can also be subjected to normative valuations.
But what specic aspects must be considered in the reconstruction of cultural
governance? We can make some suggestions here in the light of the above discussion.
(1) The “centrality” of culture
The societal negotiation and steering of the production of sense and meaning,
cultural orientation systems and their symbols, and cultural and artistic forms of
expression is the topic addressed in the cultural governance approach. This approach
emphasizes the “centrality” of culture, in comparison to other sectoral governance
elds, such as urban governance, risk governance or environmental governance (cf.
Hall 1997: 227), for culture must be thought of as being directly complementary to
the concept of society: everything that is social also involves cultural elements. This
special position attributed to culture must be reected in the concrete concept of
cultural governance.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 45
(2) The consequences of different concepts of culture for understandings of cultural
As shown in ch.1.2, it is possible to distinguish between different concepts of culture,
and therefore also between narrow and broad concepts of cultural governance (Tab.
3). Depending on the particular question or topic to be investigated, it is thus per-
missible and legitimate to start pragmatically from a sectoral understanding of cul-
tural governance, despite the “centrality of culture”; the traditional eld of cultural
policy corresponds roughly to this sector. However, it is conceivable that this kind of
pragmatic sectoral approach may hide important socio-cultural implications of the
governance in question. Independently of the researcher’s own academic conception
of culture, the potential inuence of different concepts of culture in the research eld
must be taken into account. In concrete areas of investigation, the adjective “cultural”
can and must be replaced by specic words and formulations, in order to be able to
show the social relevance of the analysis. Thus, in any concrete case it is important
to ask whether the “object” (whether a building, a poem, a song, an argumentation)
is recognized, for instance, as a “Gothic masterpiece”, “heritage of humanity”, a
“genuine expression of Turkish culture”, “authentic rap”, “clearly Roman Catholic”,
“in agreement with the basic principle of Marxism”, or “truly Islamic” – or whether
certain authorities deny this quality to the object in question.
(3) Governance of the cultural versus culture of governance
Not only the objects of governance that are referred to as cultural, but also the gov-
ernance structures and processes themselves reproduce or are inuenced by norms,
and thus by cultural orientation systems. Put in simple (and thus admittedly impre-
cise) terms, we can say that a “governanced culture” is confronted with a “culture
of governance” (see also Hall 1997). The norms and connotations of the regulated
forms of cultural expression, and the dominating norms of the governance system,
may be congruent or complementary, but may also be completely different or dia-
metrically opposed. It can be assumed that the nature of this relationship does not
leave either the forms of cultural expression or the regulating governance system
(4) The existential relevance of culture and the importance of cultural governance
The concept of culture is directly linked to the pair of concepts “sense and meaning”.
In many semiotic approaches used in the Kulturwissenschaften, “culture” or “sense”
and “meaning” are seen only as the result of successful or unsuccessful communica-
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
tion processes and attempts at interpretation, in which such a meaning, and thus
“sense”, is attributed to ciphers, signs and symbols. For semiotic approaches, such an
understanding of sense and meaning may be sufcient. But in ordinary usage “sense”
also touches on an existential dimension that goes beyond a textual level and can
only be found outside the text. Under certain circumstances, a performance, a song
or a sound, a poem, a ritual, the sight of a cultural landscape or a material artefact
may affect a person existentially at a particular moment. The possibility of such an
existential experience is not tied to the external “cultural” object; it takes place in the
viewer, the receptive person; the cultural object functions as a kind of trigger. This
existential personal experience of sense, even though as a rule transient, tied to the
moment, and not reproduceable at the press of a button, may at rst elude social
steering but it is socially relevant. Existential experiences of sense are possible under
the most adverse circumstances, even, paradoxically, in situations that appear to be
senseless (for instance in war). Large parts of cultural production are not designed
to convey existential sense. However, there is one part of the cultural institutions in
a society that has as its goal the opening up of a space for sense experiences. Repres-
sive governance mechanisms are designed to prevent self-determined experiences of
sense. Thus, the concept of cultural governance is concerned with the social “avai-
lability” and plurality of possible existential sense experiences, or their suppression
in accordance with Galtung’s (1996) concept of cultural violence.
(5) Cultural governance and the regulation of culture
In ch. 3.1, we presented the concept of cultural regulation, as represented by some
scholars in British cultural studies around Stuart Hall. As shown in ch. 2.1, there is
a clear relationship between concepts of governance and concepts of regulation, so
that many authors tend to use the two terms synonymously. Here, too, it is argued
that there is an area of overlap between the two concepts, and that in many contexts it
thus makes no great difference whether one speaks of governance or regulation. One
important difference between the two concepts is that governance approaches are
generally directed towards the reconstruction of processes of negotiation between
concrete (individual as well as collective or corporate) actors, and can thus also be
based on assumptions from the theory of practice, while regulation approaches tend
to use “anonymous” social mechanisms in order to explain a particular mode of regu-
lation or particular models of steering, as is very clear in the regulation school. Many
of the questions and topics treated in British cultural studies using various forms of
the concept of regulation could also be treated using a governance approach, and in
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 47
many cases a governance approach would actually be more appropriate. Some scho-
lars in British cultural studies have used the concept of cultural governance, without
any noticeable difference from cultural regulation becoming visible (ch. 3.1). The
model of the culture circuit, which uses the concept of regulation, can serve as inspi-
ration for a comprehensive analytical framework for the study of cultural govern-
ance. However, its shortcomings also need to be recognized, since it tends to obsure
the researcher’s view not only of the cultural actors, and the ideas behind a cultural
object, but also for instance of its aesthetic effects and material properties.
(6) Cultural governance, cultural practices, signifying practices and agency
As in the model of the circuit of culture in Du Gay et al. (1997) and Thompson (1997)
(see ch. 3.1), the governance of cultural artefacts and objects cannot be viewed sepa-
rately from their cultural (re-)production and practices of representation and signi-
cation. It is this contextualization that permits a kulturwissenschaftliche embedding
of the analysis of governance. While in ch. 1.1 we stressed the importance of creating
links between the Kulturwissenschaften and the social sciences, it is equally important
in academic discussions to take into account the special characteristics of cultural
objects. Objects only become cultural objects through signifying practices (see Hall
1997a) and actions, which may be a part of everyday life, or may be carried out by
specialized institutions, including academic institutions. Unlike the general focus on
routine signifying practices in Hall 1997a, it should not be forgotten that the sig-
nication of “cultural” objects can be created not only through every day, routine
practices, but in certain areas also through complex processes of decision, which may
be the result of an open, unstructured social debate, or of a standardized decision
process. As a rule, issues concerning cultural (re-)production need to be addressed
by specialists within the individual disciplines known collectively as the Kulturwis-
senschaften. These include art history, historic building research and conservation,
historical cultural geography, the study of religions, history of philosophy, or music
and theatre studies, each discipline having its own specic methods and accumulated
knowledge. Of course, there are cases in which the (re-)production of cultural objects
or artefacts can be studied even without such specialized knowledge. This applies to
objects belonging to everyday and pop culture, in other words those objects which
became the preferred subject of research in cultural studies (see the “classic” paradig-
matic example of the Sony Walkman in du Gay 1997), and which in their reception
also aroused interest in New Cultural Geography. Questions of the representation of
cultural objects can as a rule be treated using the methods of discourse analysis.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
(7) The cultural aspect of normative valuations
Not infrequently, governance approaches are confronted with normative forms and
processes of social steering, for instance in respect of the possibility of participa-
tion, or dened responsibility and accountability in governance structures (ch. 2.).
Of course, the categories used in such academic studies of social phenomena are also
related to cultural orientation systems, and are thus not culturally neutral but have
their origin as a rule in global hegemonic standards of Western provenance. The
implications of this origin must be adequately taken into account in the academic
work process.
3.4 A conceptual framework for the study of cultural governance
On the basis of the above reections, we will now attempt to create a general analyti-
cal framework for the study of cultural goverance. Objects become cultural objects
through signifying practices or actions, through debates or standardized decision
processes. These may be a part of everyday life, or they may be carried out by special
institutions, or by academic researchers. Following the concept of the circuit of cul-
ture (ch. 3.1), the practices and actions involved in the production and reproduction,
the signication and representation of cultural objects are investigated, as well as the
importance of cultural objects for forming the identity of persons, groups or socie-
ties. The signication of an object as “cultural” (whether a building or an ensemble,
a poem or song, or a theological argument) can in concrete cases be translated as
meaning that the cultural object is referred to, for instance, as a “Gothic master-
piece”, “heritage of humanity”, “authentic rap”, “an authentic expression of Bali-
nese culture”, “clearly Catholic” or “truly Islamic”. The latter examples may serve to
indicate that the acceptance or the refusal of such signication may sometimes have
considerable relevance in respect of explosive social issues. Cultural governance in
the narrow sense means that set of negotiations, actions and practices, institutions
and rules which are explicitly directed towards a certain object in its capacity as
a cultural object (e.g. as a historical monument). In addition, cultural objects are
subject to other forms of governance, rules and political steering, which do not treat
them explicitly as cultural objects. In order to be able to understand the governance
of a cultural object, this must not just be considered alone, but also in the light of the
often conicting overlaps and interferences between different elds of governance
that have an interest in the “cultural object”. Such considerations lead to the concept
of cultural governance in the broad sense. For example, the members of a theatre
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 49
ensemble may be bound by labour regulations, or the treatment of a historic building
may be determined by re prevention regulations or the specic interests of the users.
Conicting claims to the cultural object may be negotiated discursively, or in some
cases concretely, in special arenas of governance (such as committees, parliaments
or courts of law). Only here can be seen what importance is attached to the speci-
cally “cultural” by society as a whole. Likewise, different interpretations, attributions
of sense and meaning, and conicting claims in respect of a cultural object can arise
within the cultural sphere and be negotiated in arenas. Cultural institutions have a
form of self-organization which is at least partially autonomous and not subject to
external governance. For the analysis of cultural governance, the general principles
of governance analysis can be applied, as set out in ch. 2. Figure 4 was originally
developed with cultural artefacts in mind (such as historic buildings and ensembles),
but it can also be applied to cultural institutions (such as theatre), questions of cul-
tural diversity, and even cultural macro-institutions such as religions. These have
developed signifying practices as a fabric of sense and meaning, and have their own
self-organization or governance. On the other hand, they are themselves subject to
signifying practices and, at least partially, to attempts at external steering or gover-
The governance of a cultural object always also means the governance of its
reproduction or production, its signication and representation, its consumption,
and nally any attempt to inuence its importance for the identity of individuals or
groups. Conversely, the production, signication, representation and consumption
of a cultural object are reected in the manner of its governance. Specic concepts
and ideas can be connected both with the cultural object itself, and with the sha-
ping of governance processes (in the sense of politics) and concrete steering attempts
(in the sense of policies) in respect of the cultural object. Incompatibilities between
these concepts may lead to conictive forms of cultural governance.
With regard to different cultural object elds, this general framework for the study
of cultural governance can be combined with medium-range “material” theories and
concepts, for instance with the theoretical perspectives of critical theory in respect of
the culture industry.
Cultural phenomena are associated with many thematic elds. Table 4 shows how
the general framework for the study of cultural governance can be applied speci-
cally to the eld of cultural heritage.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
Fig. 3: An analytical framework for the reconstruction of processes of cultural governance
Central concepts from the
analytical framework for the
study of cultural governance
Concretization with regard to empirical studies of the
governance of cultural heritage
Cultural object historic monuments, historical old towns, cultural land-
scapes, World Heritage sites, intangible traditions
Cultural actors (“producers”),
ideas and concepts, materials
and forms of the cultural object
e.g. artists, actors, writers …
Social actors and institutions of
cultural governance in a narrow
e.g. the UNESCO World Heritage Committee
ministries of culture, conservation management authori-
Actors and institutions in
compe ting elds of governance
urban and regional planning authorities, companies
Governance arenas a) cultural governance in the narrow sense: UNESCO
World Heritage Committee
b) cultural governance and competing eld of govern-
ance: e.g. municipal councils
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02 51
Signication practices and
attributing to particular objects the title of “historic monu-
ment”, “World Cultural Heritage” or “heritage of human-
ity”; analysis of the selection processes in terms of the
motives of actors, the institutional settings and resulting
Production and reproduction of
cultural practices and artefacts
history of the production of the object or the ensemble
which has been declared as cultural heritage; analysis
of the background of this production
reproduction or conservation of the cultural object, pos-
sibly under changed conditions of production, including
its heritagization, as well as processes of modernization
and globalization and changed technical possibilities
Representation representation and discursive interpretation of monu-
ments or World Heritage sites in advertising, or in politi-
cal processes of negotiation (including those which
decide on whether the objects should be inscribed on
heritage lists)
Consumption tourist consumption of cultural heritge, including con-
icts between the need for conservation and the inter-
ests of users
Importance of cultural artefacts
for the construction of identities
perception of cultural heritage by certain groups, espe-
cially local actors, and its importance (or instrumentali-
zation) for the attribution of identities (to oneself or to
Tab. 4: Concepts from the analytical framework for the study of cultural governance and
their concrete application in the case of a study of cultural heritage
4. Conclusion
This Working paper has unfolded the concept of cultural governance, which com-
bines the governance approach from the social sciences with thoughts about cultural
phenomena and objects as found in the humanities, the Kulturwissenschaften and
also in British cultural studies. Particular emphasis was placed on the fact that both
in the academic world but also in public discourses different concepts of culture
co-exist. This must be reected in any attempt to conceptualize a cultural gover-
nance approach. I hope that that the proposed framework may be useful both for
acade mics and for practitioners working in the eld of political steering and the self-
organization of cultural institutions.
Schmitt: Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework / MMG WP 11-02
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... The role of cultural aspects in a country development process is a complex matter to handle, especially regarding the great numbers and variety of the experiences that could be observed in 43 the world history. A set of new technologies, even if profitable, could be adopted in a society with success only if it arrives to deal with the peculiarity of the receiving culture. ...
... Various authors have examined culture governance, according to different perspectives. Moon [42] suggests Cultural governance, defined as government's direct or indirect involvement in the promotion and administration of programs of cultural organizations (including museums), existing in specific geographic boundaries with unique financial and administrative arrangements, whereas Schmitt [43] deals with the concept of cultural governance from the perspective of sociologically-informed cultural studies. ...
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This research article explores the current state of affairs of arts and culture sector in Ethiopia. An in-depth analysis of various dimensions of art and culture highlights where is the country presently lacking in governance and socio-economic progress in the sector. A qualitative research was carried out to collect primary data. 52 respondents were chosen to be interviewed from Bahir Dar University by the method of quota sampling and the results were analyzed. Secondary data was also analyzed through academic literature from universities in Ethiopia, reports from government and development organizations. Survey results and existing academic literature have guided to single out major hindrances to this sector. In this research it can be confirmed that the arts and culture sector needs a major intervention in terms of governance and marketing. This research gives out a very structural strategy based on cultural governance, cultural economics and strategies of new business development as it pillars to support the prosperity of this sector in Ethiopia. Existing academic research provides data on different arts and culture and problems which are specific to a particular region of the country. Whereas this article goes a step further in enforcing the ordinance of cultural governance to the responsible government bodies both locally and nationally and simultaneously highlights how economic progress can be achieved through this sector. Cultural governance as a directive has never been implemented in transition economies and this article will serve as a directive for the future. This article shall be very beneficial for further research in this sector and structuring the work of government bodies, stake holders and the people involved in the sector within Ethiopia.
... For the concept of "state rescaling", seeBrenner (2004); for "cultural governance", seeSchmitt (2011).5 Taylor (1996), quoted inBrenner (2004), p. 29. ...
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China’s image abroad is not anymore shaped by Party bureaucrats with no knowledge of foreign contexts and languages, nor by ideologically driven old-fashioned officials, but by an increasingly diverse network of multiple actors partnering with new players, adopting new channels of communication and continuously adjusting to local contexts, as well as proposing more and more sophisticated messages about China as a country and as an ancient civilization. This paper is aimed at assessing the activities that Chinese actors have been recently engaging in while presenting the country and spreading its cultural messages abroad, with a particular focus on the role and identity of the Chinese state [for a conceptualization of the identity of the Chinese State, see Brødsgaard (China Int J 16(3):1–17, 2018) and Heilmann (Das politische System der Volksrepublik China. Springer, Heidelberg, 2016; Red swan how unorthodox policy-making facilitated China’s rise. Chinese University Press, Hong Kong, 2018)]. For instance, by highlighting the adoption of innovative channels in China’s diplomatic practices, it is possible to get an understanding of the new identity of the state in communicating Chinese society and culture abroad. The author provides a theoretical framework to understand the re-scaling of the Chinese state identity, by looking at the specific case of engagement using digital media—in particular the microblogging social network Twitter—by the commercial attaché at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. With the caveat that the empirical analysis is still preliminary, the author concludes that the role of the Chinese state in sponsoring the country’s image, or conducting “State branding”, abroad, albeit re-scaled, retains its centrality. The contribution of this paper consists in arguing that the identity of the State tends, thus, to take up different features and a more variegated character by playing at the intersection of traditional and non-traditional communication media, by increasingly relying on partnerships with local non-governmental actors, as well as by conquering different dimensions of “space” (in quantum physics, up to 11 dimensions of space (also called spacetime) have been conceived, while in bosonic string theory—a part of quantum physics—space is 26-dimensional. In this article, the understanding of “space” and its multiple declinations draws from conceptualizations proposed by quantum physicists. Spacetime as a concept has been explored by philosophers of science such as Hale (Philos Stud Int J Philos Anal Tradit 53(1):85–102, 1988), Healey (Erkenntnis 42(3):287–316, 1995), and Lam (Philos Sci 74:712–723, 2007). Brown (J Mod Lit 32(3):39–62, 2009), French and Krause (Erkenntnis 59(1):97–124, 2003), and Ney (Noûs 46(3):525–560, 2012) already worked on connections between the concept of spacetime in quantum physics and different disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.), namely a virtual space, an emotional space, a metaphorical space, an interactive space, and an informal space. This pragmatic approach does not mean that the state downsizes its role and that we should think the position of NGOs and non-state actors is more relevant, but it, instead, redefines its role and reframes its participation in activities abroad by re-thinking its involvement, occupying different spaces and communicating in a more sophisticated way. The novel contribution of this paper consists in framing a theoretical approach to analyze the Chinese state presence abroad, by linking of the concept of quantum spacetime and its dimensions to that of “state rescaling”.
... Schmitt, TM asserts that the changes that occur in the economy in which production methods, production relations, modes of production and production forces are contained will lead to changes in patterns in the socio-cultural superstructure, in which there are political, socio-cultural and ideological aspects from life that means that it builds up the socio-cultural superstructure [10]. The existence of Fountain Water in Purwakarta has shown this. ...
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This article discusses how the biggest fountain development policies in Southeast Asia can have a welfare impact on society. This research was conducted in Purwakarta, West Java, Indonesia. This research is based on the assumption that the development of the city becomes more attractive and has a very close relationship with the social welfare and economic growth of a region. This study uses a case study of activities carried out in the program of District Purwakarta government of tourism in the city through the construction of fountains. To collect data, the writers do some interviews, observation and document analyses. Face-to-face interviews using a structured questionnaire have been developed for this study. Research findings indicate that the implementation of the fountain development policy has improved the welfare of the community, even though it was only a stimulus one.
... This process is impregnated by a heavy invisible "ballast" of administrative procedures, procedures, legal requirements, technical complexities, etc.; constraints which have been defined perfectly by Dan Hill under the qualification of "dark matter" [25]. This circumstance can be observed particularly in the case of the antiquated systems of cultural governance, where the participation of new social and/or economic actors is demanded [26]. In addition, the planning impetus that emanates from public institutions remains stuck in the middle, because the behaviour of highly complex systems, as is the case of the urban environment, is not predictable with accuracy. ...
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This article makes a critical reflection, questioning the notion of historical urban landscapes as a conceptual paradigm used for the basis of urban conservation in the twenty-first century. The study begins with a brief summary of the origins and subsequent evolution of this concept, highlighting the two key reference milestones: the Vienna Memorandum (UNESCO, 2005) and the Paris Recommendation (UNESCO, 2011). Subsequently, the focus of attention will be on highlighting the problems and difficulties posed by the management and protection of historic urban landscapes today. In this sense, the focus of attention will be placed on the assumption that change is an inherent part of the urban condition, since there is no consensus on what the limits of acceptable change in historic urban landscapes should be. It also emphasizes three factors that make this more difficult: (1) the reminiscences of the doctrines of the Weberian administration in the current models of government; (2) the subjective nature of the systems of indicators applied to the scope of historic cities; and (3) the opportunism of tactical urbanism, which, despite its shortcomings, is becoming an outstanding alternative for the methodological development of the historic urban landscapes.
... This process is impregnated by a heavy invisible "ballast" of administrative procedures, procedures, legal requirements, technical complexities, etc..; constraints which have been defined perfectly by Dan Hill under the qualification of "dark matter" [27]. This circumstance can be observed particularly in the case of the antiquated systems of cultural governance, where the participation of new social and/or economic actors is demanded [28]. In addition, the planning impetus that emanates from public institutions remains stuck in the middle, because the behaviour of highly complex systems, as is the case of the urban environment, is not predictable with accuracy. ...
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In this article, a critical reflection is made that involves questioning the notion of historic urban landscapes profiled in the Memorandum of Vienna (UNESCO, 2005) and the Paris Recommendation (UNESCO, 2011) as a conceptual paradigm on which to base urban conservation in the 21st century. Its limited methodological development and the assumption of change as an inherent part of the urban condition constitutes the source of many of the problems and difficulties posed by management and protection of contemporary cities, since there is no consensus as to what the acceptable limits of change should be in historic urban landscapes - difficulties that become ever more apparent, given the background of Weberian administrative doctrines present in current governance models. Likewise, the concept of Buffer Zones as a landscape management tool is analyzed, with the aim of establishing new methodological proposals that enable spatial organization to be regulated by defining areas of harmonization that are made up of flexible and multifunctional spaces for cooperation where territorial scale comes into contact with modernization of the historical fabric.
... This is a distinctive feature of a number of new governance initiatives in the heritage field, such as 'public or community-based archaeology' (Barreiro 2006;Merriman 2004), 'participatory research projects' (Nitzky 2013;Norman 2007) and 'citizen engagement in heritage' (Dries et al. 2015;Watson & Waterton 2010). Such an emphasis on the role of civil actors coincides with a 'democratic' turn in cultural governance in general, which extends to heritage use, access, and management (Alguacil Gómez 2005;Schmitt 2011). This trend can be seen as a reaction to the highly centralized and expert-based approaches that dominated in the past (Smith 2006). ...
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In the heritage field, institutions tend to see social participation as a synonym for good governance practice. This extends to other areas such as the environment, humanitarian aid, and sustainable development. In this article, the authors analyze the use of participatory models in the management of heritage through the study of three heritage sites in Spain: the prehistoric paintings in Altamira, the Mosque-Cathedral in Córdoba, and the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park. Their study suggests that, despite the promises of more democratic heritage governance, participatory methods are commonly bounded by social fractures that are concomitant to certain ‘heritage regimes’. They conclude that the critical study of participation in heritage should go beyond the dichotomy between ‘good and bad’ participation. Rather, it should focus on understanding what participation does to the entire heritagization process.
Tracing the concept and phenomena of ‘cultural governance’, as it evolves along the agenda of China’s ‘modernization of governing capacity (of the state)’, this article tries to capture the various term-shaping processes against the backdrop of a political discourse that gave birth to them. The article discusses topics such as urban planning, infrastructure upgrading, community reformation, and the so-called cultural-sustainable development strategy adopted by the Chinese authorities with selected cases from three mainland Chinese urban centers (Shenzhen, Foshan and Dongguan) of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. Pointing to both the flexibility and adaptability of the state’s involvement, the research elaborates the models adopted by and problems associated with various pioneering programs initiated by municipalities as they carry out what might be called, arguably, a ‘cultural turn’ of urban governance.
As the juggernaut of world history rolled on, many civilizations rose and vanished but the spirit of India remained eternal and unconquerable, unharmed by the advance of time. History follows a continuous process of reinvention that can eventually prove elusive for those seeking to grasp its essential character. The history of this amazing sub-continent dates back to time immemorial. The political map was made up of countless kingdoms with fluctuating boundaries that rendered the country vulnerable to foreign invasions.
This chapter explores the reality of the practice of cultural governance in South Africa. It provides the reader with an overview of the struggle and challenges faced in South Africa, but also concludes that this type of project is well timed in terms of the stage the country has reached in its present history. This is a country informed by struggle, apartheid, compliance, and policy, and how the cultural institutions face the future is important in terms of the future. Therefore, in the following pages the reader is given an insight into the influence and challenges that are being faced.
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This article explores culture-led urban development in Xinxing County, Guangdong Province. Arguing for the relevance of cultural governance to the study of culture-led development in China, it heeds to the specific cultural knowledge and discourses that frame policy, and thinks critically on the creation of a unitary, all-encompassing idea of culture, which many culture-led development projects fall prey to. Empirically, this article presents a study of the Ecological Tourism Industrial Park of the Sixth Patriarch’s Hometown, a high-end leisure and recreation complex. It first sketches the ways in which Zen is re-packaged as a redeeming force that cures the alienating effects of modernisation. It moves to an analysis of the production of culturally encoded consumption spaces envisioned by the Plan of the Ecological Tourism Industrial Park of the Sixth Patriarch’s Hometown. Finally, this article reflects on how the Ecological Tourism Industrial Park of the Sixth Patriarch’s Hometown imposes a dominant, unitary conception of local culture, excluding pre-established practices and routines that connect local people and Zen in lived and habitual ways, yet are devalued by the notion of Zen as high-end symbolic goods.
»›Kultur‹ ist ein vom Standpunkt des Menschen aus mit Sinn und Bedeutung bedachter endlicher Ausschnitt aus der sinnlosen Unendlichkeit des Weltgeschehens.«1 Zum Verständnis von kultureller Praxis als formbildende und sinnstiftende Gestaltung entwickelte Webers Verstehende Soziologie das Erkenntnisprogramm der modernen Kulturwissenschaften als »[…] Wirklichkeitswissenschaft: Wir wollen die uns umgebende Wirklichkeit des Lebens […] in ihrer Eigenart verstehen — den Zusammenhang und die Kulturbedeutung ihrer einzelnen Erscheinungen in ihrer heutigen Gestaltung […]«.2
›Kultur‹ ist kein Gegenstand neben anderen Gegenständen. ›Kulturwissenschaft‹ ist keine spezifische geistes- und sozialwissenschaftliche Disziplin neben anderen Disziplinen. ›Kultur‹ ist auch nicht das, was die Humanwissenschaften ›natürlicherweise‹ als ihr konstitutives Objekt reklamieren können. Um zu begreifen, was auf dem Spiel steht, wenn seit dem letzten Drittel des 20. Jahrhunderts in der Soziologie, Geschichtswissenschaft, Ethnologie und Literaturwissenschaft im englischen, französischen und deutschen Sprachraum eine Expansion der ›Kultur-wissenschaftlichem‹ Denkweisen stattfindet, sollte man statt dessen ›Kulturwissenschaften‹ als ein spezifisches, intern vielfach differenziertes ›Forschungs-programm‹ verstehen. Man kann die Attraktivität, die der kulturwissenschaftlichen Denkweise für viele Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaftler zukommt, ebenso wie den Widerstand, den sie bei anderen hervorruft, erst dann nachvollziehen, wenn man sie als ein solches fächerübergreifendes ›research programme‹ wahrnimmt, als eine bestimmte Perspektive des Fragens und der Analyse, die sich gegenüber anderen, klassischen ›research programmes‹ in einer Situation der Konkurrenz und des Konflikts befindet.
Das Konzept der Politischen Kultur ist in den letzten Jahren wiederholt einer kritischen Prüfung unterzogen worden (v.a. Almond und Verba 1980; Reichel 1981; Kaase 1983; Fenner 1983; Berg-Schlosser 1985; Patrick 1984; Pappi 1985; Schissler 1986). Dabei sind seine Schwächen mehr als deutlich geworden. Auch die folgenden Überlegungen können und wollen die zweifelnde Frage nicht unterdrücken, ob es sich wirklich lohnt, in der bisherigen Art einfach weiterzumachen. Ihnen liegt jedoch gleichzeitig die Überzeugung zugrunde, daß die kulturelle Dimension der Politik einer stärkeren Beachtung und der weiteren Aufhellung bedarf und daß dafür wiederum ein reflektiertes Konzept von politischer Kultur unverzichtbar ist.
Neben den Nationalstaat und Territorialstaat traten im 19. Jh. zunehmend internationale Organisationen (i.O.) mit dem Ziel, Rechts- und Arbeitsgrundlagen für die Zusammenarbeit der Staaten bzw. nationaler Akteure bei grenzüberschreitenden Transaktionen zu gewährleisten. Bei den i.O. wird zwischen International Governmental Organisations (IGOs) und International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) unterschieden. Inzwischen wird auch die Kategorie Business International Non-Governmental Organisation (BINGO) geführt, worunter die auf Erzielung ökonomischer Gewinne gerichteten Organisationen (transnationale Konzerne) zu verstehen sind.
Wenn man sich etwas intensiver — und das heißt nicht nur theoretisch, sondern auch experimentell — mit den Grundfunktionen der Technik und auf der anderen Seite mit den Grundfunktionen lebender Systeme beschäftigt, so zeigt eine Gegenüberstellung sehr bald, daß die Natur im Grunde voller Technik steckt, ja der vielzitierte Gegensatz zwischen Natur und Technik eigentlich gar nicht existiert. Sobald wir die Technik in ihrer fächerübergreifenden Rolle sehen, in ihrer Funktion innerhalb eines überlebensfähigen Systems, dann läßt sich eine solche Technik auch wieder gegenüber der Umwelt vertreten.
In recent years the so called 'cultural turn' has begun to make a mark in German-speaking human geography. This article takes up the emerging criticism of this theoretical reorientation and discusses means to further develop theory in human geography. The paper argues that a stronger orientation to social theory can help to overcome the weaknesses of the 'new cultural geography'. In the context of this assumption, potential applications of Pierre Bourdieu's outline of a theory of practice are examined. It can be shown that the theorectical innovativeness of Bourdieu's concept really comes to the fore when it is applied to the scientific practice of overservation and description itself as a theory of scientifc investigation. Thus it can become a starting point for a reflective social geography that aims to pay attention to its own 'ways of seeing' in the analysis of everyday geography-making.
Introduction The precautionary principle has been adopted in a variety of forms at international, European Union and national level (Fisher, 2002). It is applied across an increasing number of national jurisdictions, economic sectors and environmental areas (de Sadeleer, 2002). It has moved from the regulation of industry, technology and health risk, to the wider governance of science, innovation and trade (O'Riordan and Cameron, 1994; O'Riordan and Jordan, 1995; Raffensberger and Tickner, 1999; O'Riordan et al., 2001). As it has expanded in scope, so it has grown in profile and authority. In particular, as Article 174(2) in the EC Treaty of 2002 implies, precaution now constitutes a key underlying principle in European Union policy making (European Commission, 2002). In the aftermath of a series of formative public health controversies, economic calamities and political conflicts (such as those involving BSE and GM crops), precaution is of great salience in many fields, including the regulation of chemicals. Despite the intensity of the policy attention, however, there remain a number of serious ambiguities and queries concerning the nature and appropriate role of the precautionary principle in governance (Cross, 1996; Majone, 2002; Löfstedt, 2004). These are addressed – if not resolved – in a burgeoning academic (Sand, 2000; Fisher, 2001, 2002; Klinke and Renn, 2001; Stirling, 2003; Peterson, 2006) and more policy-oriented (Stirling, 1999; Gee et al., 2001) literature.