Cultural Governance as a conceptual framework

by Thomas Schmitt

Working Papers WP 11-02
January 2011
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

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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.

Thomas Schmitt is Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study
of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (MMP), Department of Socio-Cultural Diversity,