Citizenship and Cultural Policy


Edited by: Denise Meredyth & Jeffrey Minson

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    The Authors

    TONY BENNETT is a professor of sociology and the director of the Pavis Centre for Social and Cultural Research at the Open University. He was previously a professor of cultural studies at Griffith University and the director of the Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy. His recent publications include The Birth of the Museum (1995), Culture: A Reformer's Science, and (with Michael Emmison and John Frow) Accounting for Tastes: Australian Everyday Cultures (1999).

    JANICE BESCH is a cultural policy researcher and analyst currently employed by the Australia Council, the Australian Government's arts funding and advisory body. She has previous experience in state and local government contexts and is currently engaged in doctoral research exploring policy and accountability frameworks for the arts.

    STUART CUNNINGHAM is a professor and head of the School of Media and Journalism, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. He is an author or editor of several books on Australian media, cultural policy, and global television, the most recent of which are The Media in Australia: Industries, Texts, Audiences (with Graeme Turner, 1997), New Patterns in Global Television (with John Sinclair and Elizabeth Jacka, 1996), and Floating Lives: The Media of Asian Diasporas (with John Sinclair, 2000).

    GAY HAWKINS is a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. She has published a book on the invocation of community in arts policy: From Nimbin to Mardi Gras: Constructing Community Arts (1993) as well as numerous articles on transformations in public service broadcasting and television value and difference.

    BARRY HINDESS is a professor of political science in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. His most recent books are Discourses of Power: From Hobbes to Foucault (1996) and (edited with Mitchell Dean) Governing Australia: Studies in Contemporary Rationalities of Government (1998). He is currently preparing a book on democracy to be published by Routledge.

    IAN HUNTER is the director of the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at Griffith University, Brisbane. He is the author of a number of books and articles dealing with the history of ethical disciplines and deportments. These include Culture and Government: The Emergence of Literary Education (1988) and Rethinking the School (1994). He has recently completed a book on the relation between civil and metaphysical philosophy in early modern Germany.

    DENISE MEREDYTH is a research fellow at the Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. She has published on issues related to the historical and contemporary study of education, citizenship, and governance and is currently completing work on civics, ethics, and pluralism, as well as a policy report on information technology and Australian education. Publications include Child and Citizen: Genealogies of Schooling and Subjectivity (1993, coedited with Deborah Tyler).

    TOBY MILLER is a professor of cultural studies and cultural policy at New York University. He is the author of The Well-Tempered Self: Citizenship, Culture, and the Postmodern Subject (1993), Contemporary Australian Television (with S. Cunningham, 1994), The Avengers (1997), Technologies of Truth: Cultural Citizenship and the Popular Media (1998), and Popular Culture and Everyday Life (with A. McHoul, 1998). He is the editor of Television and New Media, is coeditor of Social Text, and has also edited the following three books: SportCult (with R. Martin, 1999), Film and Theory: An Anthology (with R. Stam, 2000), and A Companion to Film Theory (with R. Stam, 2000).

    JEFFREY MINSON is currently a research fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Questions of Conduct: Sexual Harassment, Citizenship, Government (1993) and of Genealogies of Morals: Nietzsche, Foucault, Donzelot and the Eccentricity of Ethics (1985). He has written on ethics, public policy, legal studies, and cultural history. He is preparing a book on the significance of the history of civility for current debates about the alleged deficiencies of democratic politics and government.

    TINA NGUYEN is a postgraduate student in the Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

    NIKOLAS ROSE is a professor of sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His recent books include Inventing Ourselves (1996), Governing the Soul (2nd ed., 1999), and Powers of Freedom (1999).

    TIM ROWSE is a research fellow in the Department of Government and Public Administration, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. His studies of the application of ethnographic knowledge to public policy have found expression in his books Remote Possibilities: The Aboriginal Domain and the Administrative Imagination (1992) and Traditions for Health: Studies in Aboriginal Reconstruction (1996).

    JOHN SINCLAIR is a professor in the Department of Communication, Language and Cultural Studies, Victoria University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. He has published widely on the globalization of the television and advertising industries, with special attention to Asia and Latin America.

    JULIAN THOMAS is senior research fellow with the Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy, Griffith University. He has written widely on information policy, cultural history, and intellectual property.

    ANNA YEATMAN is a professor of sociology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She is the author of Bureaucrats, Technocrats, Femocrats (1990) and Postmodern Revisionings of the Political (1994); and of a forthcoming book, The Politics of Individuality. She is also the editor or coeditor of a number of collections, the three most recent of which are Activism and the Policy Process (1998), The New Contractualism (1997), and Justice and Identity (1995).

    AUDREY YUE is a lecturer in cultural studies, Melbourne University, Melbourne, Australia.

    Introduction: Resourcing Citizenries

    DeniseMeredyth, Swinburne University of TechnologyJeffreyMinson, University of Technology, Sydney

    This collection of articles is designed to explore the overlap between the social and political analysis of citizenship and applied work in cultural and media policy. The articles in this volume tackle a variety of topics from different theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, but each bears on some central questions: To what extent are national governments responsible for providing common cultural resources to rights-bearing citizens? What is the range of rationales available for states to use in allocating such resources? And how are such rationales likely to be affected by economic internationalization, supranational agreements, diasporic migration, multiethnicity, and grassroots community politics?

    These issues bear on debates in two territories, across a borderline that is often crossed, but rarely marked (see Bridges, 1994; Corrigan & Sayer, 1985; Dahlgren & Sparks, 1991; Kaplan, 1993; Rabinow, 1989).

    The first of these is the burgeoning field of citizenship studies, which sprawls across sociology, political science, philosophy, intellectual history, and ethics (see, e.g., Beiner, 1995; Commen, 1997; Klusmeyer, 1996; Mouffe, 1992; Turner, 1993, Turner & Hamilton, 1994; Van Steenbergen, 1994; Walzer, 1997). The second is the emergent area of cultural and media policy studies.1 Working across these fields, we aim to avoid the disciplinary segmentation and hermeticism that often prevails within citizenship studies and, more generally, within normative political theory (see Hindess, 1998). Accordingly, the collection is deliberately eclectic. Some contributions engage with issues in arts, media, and cultural policy, from arts and information policy to museums and diasporic media. We have also solicited work from political and social theorists influenced, variously, by post-Foucauldian work on governmentality, feminist and psychoanalytic theory, public policy-based ethics, and recent historical research on traditions of civil science and philosophy.

    Editors' Note: The editors would like to thank Louise Goebel for her careful subediting work on this volume. For discussion of the ideas and directions contained in this introduction and in the shaping of the volume as a whole, we would also like to thank Julian Thomas, Janice Besch, Louise Goebel, and our contributors. We are also grateful to the Australian Research Council for the Large Grant and Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant that have made this work possible. Thanks also to Tony Bennett for his support for this project.

    In commissioning work that can be placed on the borderline between political theory, history, applied ethics, and cultural policy, we are filling a well-marked gap in studies of citizenship. In a widely cited survey of the field, Kymlicka and Norman (1995) comment that, for all the sophistication of current ethical-political analyses of the civic deficit, “a striking feature … is the timidity with which authors apply their theories of citizenship to questions of public policy” (p. 300). It is not that confidence is wanting: Theorists are quite ready to diagnose social ills, usually through the ritual application of “assymetric [sic] counter-concepts” (Koselleck, 1985). The result, on one hand, is a perpetual rediscovery of unhealthy imbalances in our democracies: between active and passive citizenship, between the public-spirited citizen and the self-interested consumer and claimer of duty-free rights, and between bureaucratic guardianship and the promise of popular sovereignty (Barber, 1982; Clarke, 1996; Cleveland, 1996; Dagger, 1997). On the other hand, where theorists are bold enough to go beyond schematic diagnoses of the civic deficit, the results are often summary and heavy-handed policy prescriptions, such as compulsory community service. Either political theory issues in mandatory prescriptions or prohibitions, or it appears impotent—“gentle and relatively unobtrusive” methods of engendering civic dispositions being dismissed as inconsequential (Kymlicka & Norman, 1995, p. 301): “If civility is important,” comment Kymlicka and Norman (1995), “why not pass Good Samaritan laws?” (p. 300).

    Such suggestions typify citizenship theorists' limited engagement (despite emphasis on the idea of forming character in applications of virtue ethics to citizenship) with the repertoire of actual techniques for the indirect “conduct of conduct.” Perhaps this is in part an effect of the longstanding influence over normative social and political theory of juristic or “juridico-discursive” paradigms of power, politics, and government (Pocock, 1993, pp. 394–395; see also Foucault, 1978; Minson, 1985). To be legitimate, citizenship theorists assume, government must be reducible to the ideal of the polity as a democratic comity, a product of conversations, covenants, or bargains between presumably rational citizens about the obligatory rules of their collective coexistence.2

    For all its nobility, this postulate has trouble in dealing with the myriad and generally unexceptionable aspects of the private and public governance of citizens (including legal regulation itself) that do not conform to this ideal form (Burchell, Gordon, & Miller, 1991; Dean & Hindess, 1998; Donzelot, 1979, 1988; Rose, 1990, 1996a, 1996b). To engage with the practical and political challenges of putting liberal pluralist conceptions of civic formation to work requires taking seriously the empirical means of forming civic and civil attributes. Cultural policy is one of the zones of social governance in which this work of making up citizens takes place. Studies of cultural policy are centrally concerned with such modes of neoliberal governance, which work between public institutions and private lives and at both national and international levels, shaping civic or civil habits, tastes, and dispositions in ways that are all the more effective for not being experienced as obtrusive (Bennett, 1995; Hunter, 1988, 1994; Mercer, 1997; Miller, 1998).

    From this corner of public policy, we can plot the angle at which critique, advocacy, and community politics intersect with expertise and varieties of political, legal, and governmental reasoning. At the same time, we can monitor the effects of the international trends in governance that are supposed to be shaking public policy to its historical foundations. These include the impact on public policy of neoliberal economic doctrines, the tension between market rationality and community values, and the prospects for a regeneration of civil society through the mobilization of participatory communities.

    In the search for supplementary funds, cultural institutions are becoming increasingly market driven, seeking ways of attracting new audiences.3 The pattern is one of devolution of cultural funding and planning to local governments and independent agencies and local initiatives. In place of the centralized civil service authorities, semiautonomous agencies and brokers now provide cultural services to client groups within cultural and media industries, generating new consumer relations (see, e.g., Bennett, 1997; Craik, James Bailey, & Moran, 1995; Cunningham & Jacka, 1996; Mercer & Stephens, 1997; Mulcahy, 1998; Wyszomirski, 1998). Communities have been incited to tap into a tradition of volunteerism, identifying their own cultural needs and planning for themselves and generating funding for cultural initiatives (McNulty, 1994). Support for these community participation programs has come from across the political spectrum—from market liberals concerned with minimizing state interference, from conservatives concerned about declining community values and civility, and from leftist champions of popular sovereignty and community participation.

    Surveying these developments, this collection of articles hinges applied policy on culture and citizenship with studies of governance. On one hand, case studies from cultural and media policy test the limits of political-theoretical diagnosis and prescription. On the other hand, they suggest ways of translating theoretical-political concerns into more effective advocacy and practicable cultural reforms to civic life. But before introducing our contributors, we need a clearer angle on cultural policy and its bearing on citizenship.

    Cultural Policy: Debates and Dialects

    As a field, cultural policy studies is still inchoate, with no single institutional home. The umbrella term cultural policy can place cultural studies gurus and identity politics activists next to experts on the cultural industries (e.g., Crawley, 1997; DiMaggio, 1987). It can cover those who champion the traditional arts and government support for heritage, public libraries, and cultural community development, those concerned with language policies for ethnic minorities, and those engaged in ground-level research and consultation on the cultural resources of communities, audiences, consumers, and subcultures.

    In the academy, cultural policy studies appears on the cusp of cultural studies, urban planning, cultural history, sociology, and political theory. American cultural planners such as DiMaggio are cited as progenitors (see DiMaggio, 1987; Miller, 1996), along with British intellectuals who in the 1980s combined Birmingham-school cultural studies with the local government traditions of the United Kingdom (Bennett, 1998; Jones, 1994). Cultural policy thinking in that decade also owed something to social-democratic intellectuals seeking a rapprochement between leftist politics and commerce via industry policy.

    During the 1980s in Britain, for instance, cultural policy gradually shifted from a focus on high culture and heritage to include what became known as the cultural industries of broadcasting, film, popular music, video, fashion, and so on. Setting aside established moral-political contrasts between self-sacrificing citizens and pleasure-driven consumers, these social-democratic arguments combined concerns about the conditions for employment growth with attention to the liberating potential of popular consumption patterns (Mulgan & Worpole, 1986).

    As a strain of public policy debate, cultural policy discussion is made up of polyglot dialects. Debates on the politics of difference and the politics of entitlement, for example, tend to be articulated mostly in the idiom of cultural rights (Balibar, 1991; Kymlicka, 1995; Taylor, 1989). One influential formulation holds, for instance, that the principal rationale for government-instigated cultural policies in a liberal polity committed to fostering individual self-fulfillment is citizens' entitlement to one of its preconditions, namely, the cultural resources that for many citizens are a vital source of the self (Taylor, 1989, 1992). Citizens have a suprapolitical human right to culture, it is said, because culture defines humanity. As humans, citizens have a right in particular to the full experiential range of intellectual and artistic experience provided by their unique culture: “the reflective self-consciousness operating at the highest level of intensity,” beyond “the common experience of day to day living,” as the 1948 Declaration on Human Rights puts it (General Assembly of the United Nations, 1948, cited in Schensul, 1990, p. 337). Accordingly, cultural rights cannot be the privilege of a national or universal elite—there must be full recognition of all the culturally diverse forms of humanity and their artistic expression.

    Some have qualified these formulations with the argument that there is no clear distinction between elite intellectual and artistic expression and the common experience of day-to-day living. The point is not to democratize culture (by creating greater access to the mainstream arts). Rather, moving beyond the instrumentalist, market-dominated obsessions of most current cultural policy, we need an alternative form of cultural policy that could be a vehicle for building a citizen-oriented cultural democracy (Dunn, 1997;Evrard, 1997; Lewis, 1994).

    Where the debate turns to the cultural resources needed by multiethnic communities, this discourse on democracy and culture meets the politics of entitlement (Castles, 1997). Debates on multiculturalism have explored ways in which language policy and other cultural policy frameworks might provide the resources that would enable ethnically divided populations to learn to accommodate cultural differences, rather than subordinating them within common cultural institutions (Kymlicka, 1989, 1995; Parekh, 1997). Moving beyond theoretical oppositions between communitarianism and liberalism, it is argued, cultural policy frameworks should be able to recognize the rights of cultures, negotiating with collective political identities while anticipating the potentially coercive or exclusive impact of group identification. Given both external protections and internal cultural restraints against such communities, it is hoped, collective cultural groups may find ways to negotiate defensible moral rules for pluralistic civic conduct.

    A community of orthodox Jews sharing public space on the Sabbath without commercial life polluting that space; a neighborhood of West Indians playing cricket on the streets of Brooklyn during carnival; a Quebecoise going into a supermarket and getting asked what she wants in French; a community of Moslems within the U.S. Army sharing Friday prayer in a public space reserved for them: these examples in cosmopolitan society will surely encroach upon the rights of others, in that public space is appropriated for group activity, and sometimes the activities will create (for others) a public nuisance … [nevertheless] these activities provide meaning for many people's lives in a cosmopolitan society. (Laitin, 1998, p. 226)

    Such aspirations have not gone unchallenged, given the problems entailed in tying individual citizens and their claims on public culture to ethnically specific cultural identities (Carens, 1997; Kukathas, 1992; Margalit & Halbertal, 1994; Rorty, 1994, 1995; Young, 1997). Nevertheless, critics and defenders of cultural rights engage in a common mode of citizenship talk about cultural policy, one that is intellectually oriented around contending suprainstitutional principles or ideals. This idealistic language is at home in the academy, but it also functions as a rhetorical and ethical resource for those seeking to inject gravitas and vision into political, diplomatic, and legal deliberations (e.g., Clinton, 1994).

    True, in the archipelagos of government decision making, commentary, advocacy, and intervention that make up public policy debate, such invocations of the higher principles of culture—elite or democratic—tend to sound like motherhood statements. They can seem particularly unworldly when juxtaposed to political realities such as budgetary exigencies and financial risk, electoral pressures, rivalrous class, ethnic, or gender politics, or clashes of interests between artforms, advocacy bodies, and agencies. It would be mistaken to portray cultural policy discussion as a clash between political idealism and capitalist calculation. Instead, we could talk about distinct but by no means polarized idioms of cultural policy discourse, some of which are certainly oriented to economic and political advantage.

    Talk about synergies between art and national economic vitality has become the argot of the advisers, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and advocates attached to cultural industries, heritage, entertainment, broadcasting, information policy, and communications (e.g., Casey, Dunlop, & Selwood, 1996). In these environments in which centralized cultural planning and funding is now construed as intrusive, expensive, and inefficient, many of these policy intellectuals endeavor to balance public-good considerations against the imperative to foster markets, build client relations, and promote consumer choice (Colbert, 1997; Jacka, 1997; Zolberg, 1994). Many are remaking themselves as generic managers while finding places for administrative expertise and specialist judgment (cf. Du Gay, 1995). At the same time, many see themselves as advocates, exemplary citizens, and activists linked by reciprocal commitments to arts workers, communities, or cultural institutions (Christie, 1999). At such points, where experts engage with the demands of effective advocacy and advice in the face of fiscal restrictions, electoral pressure, and political trade-offs, we find practical instances of the connection (and disconnection) between democratic discourse and the imperatives of actionable policy and social governance (Daniels, 1997; Radbourne, 1997; Throsby, 1997).

    We see just these sorts of (dis-) connections, for instance, in the 1994 Australian cultural policy statement, Creative Nation (Commonwealth of Australia, 1994), now a model for the cultural planning exercises of Britain's New Labour. The statement combined arts, film, media, and information policy within a “whole-of-government” cultural policy framework intended “to bring cultural issues into the mainstream of our national life” (Commonwealth of Australia, 1994, p. 12). The preamble affirmed a commitment to fostering artistic excellence and cultural democracy, ending with a charter of cultural rights. Thereafter, Creative Nation gets down to business.

    This cultural policy is also an economic policy. Culture creates wealth. Broadly speaking our cultural industries generate thirteen billion dollars a year. Culture employs … adds value … it makes an essential contribution to innovation, marketing and design. … It is a badge of our industry. The level of our creativity substantially determines our ability to respond to new economic imperatives. … It is a valuable export in itself and a valuable accompaniment to the export of other commodities. (Commonwealth of Australia, 1994, p. 7)

    These images of the arts as the ornament and accompanist of commerce reappear in a subsequent discussion of national art and culture as an instrument of foreign policy, providing “a blend of culture and commerce to project a contemporary image of Australia overseas” (Commonwealth of Australia, 1994, p. 93). So even in this most instrumentalist of arguments, markets are not everything. Art also helps to enhance the international profile of the state: For all its limitations, the document is an argument for significant state support for the arts and cultural industries. We need to pause before assuming too quickly that this state interest in culture is unmindful of the welfare of citizens.

    Debates about state interest in the health of culture and the arts and tensions between higher public good considerations and instrumentalism are far from new, at either a national or an international level. It may be useful to think of these tensions as part of the historical “steady diet of conflicts” (Hirschmann, 1994, p. 212) through which we have arrived at the present-day uneasy fit, within liberal democratic discourse, between different domains of reasoning: state interest, social governance, and democratic politics.

    Since at least the 18th century (in France and Germany), Western states have pursued the end of social settlement and pastoral governance through the bureaucratic coordination of local and municipal cultural activities and civic life (Bennett, 1995, 1998; Hunter, 1988, 1994; Mercer, 1997; Miller, 1993, 1998; Mulcahy, 1998). Public arts, media, and cultural institutions have had a nation-building role not only in consolidating nations of immigrants and displaying national prestige but also in forming the habits and ethical attributes of urban populations. Alongside schools and prisons, museums and art galleries were purpose-built instruments of moral reformation. However, their rationales also had to be adapted to the expansion of social and political rights early this century. National debates occurred on citizens' social rights to equal access to common cultural resources and their promises of self-improvement—debates that are broadly comparable with contemporary controversies.

    A measure of conflict was and is inevitable. As tutelary institutions, schools, public broadcasters, museums, art galleries, and so on have been charged with the responsibility to assist in forming public cultures, collective cultural identities, and self-governing citizens, extending the latter's repertoire of interests and abilities. It also falls to these institutions of social governance to save the people from themselves, maintaining a neutral and expert judgment that arbitrates in battles over common resources, combats popular ignorance, and in some instances defuses destructive conducts. At the same time, as democratic institutions, cultural and social institutions are supposed to be conduits for the expression of popular aspirations and critical reason, for instance, as articulated in equity and access programs.

    Equivalent points can be made about the conflicting dimensions of international cultural policy, the terrain of rivalry and cooperation between states, and of negotiation between commercial and governmental interest. Cultural affairs has a long-standing role as a national foreign policy instrument conducted as part of the business of government between and within nations and between sovereign states and corporations (Chartrand, 1992). The United States, for instance, has a long history of pursuing cultural exchange as an instrument of diplomacy, combining neutral philanthropic ends of mutuality with the securing of national trade and security interests and using scholarly exchange and fellowships to keep a competitive edge in ideas, while preselecting future elites and introducing conceptions of human rights and intellectual freedom into nondemocratic regimes. As the Librarian of Congress, James Billington (1992) remarks, while putting the case for government cultural patronage in intellectual exchange schemes such as Fulbright Fellowships, “stronger cultural and educational programs enable us to sustain and support longer-term forces working towards democratization, even when we feel compelled, from understandable short-term reasons of state, to work tactically with non-democratic or even repressive leaders” (p. 103). Mediating between cultures through the arts and cultural exchange, he argues, America can present itself as a “uniquely experimental frontier civilization” (p. 109), tolerant of the right to affirm and express unique cultures while meeting “the desire of everyone … to participate in the common world of television communications and secular knowledge” (p. 110). This is properly portrayed, he suggests, not as an “imperialist policy,” but as an exercise in “symphonic” international cultural policy (p. 109).

    Needless to say, these are hardly the kinds of overlap between theory and cultural policy portended in political theorists' appeals to supranational recognition of cultural rights (Archibugi & Held, 1995). Once cosmopolitan principles are tagged to cultural rights through agencies of supranational bodies such as the United Nations and United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), civic idealists speculate, national citizenship will be erased, and community will be reinvented in a global mode (Featherstone, 1990; Heater, 1996; Linklater, 1998; Mayor, 1993). Culture will become the new language of international statecraft as supranational forms of governance seek a universal moral counterweight to the chaos created by international capitalist expansion and panicking nation states (Jacques, 1996, p. 25). A cosmopolitan conception of citizenship will be realized at local levels within a complex configuration of “community institutions, state, nations and transnational voluntary associations, regions and alliances of regions” (Meehan, 1993, p. 1, cited in Lemke, 1998, p. 213). Human rights abuses and the dispossession of indigenous peoples will be able to be addressed by appeal to a higher international court and by reference to liberal cosmopolitan principles enforced through international law (Caney, George, & Jones, 1996).

    The gap between civic idealism and political application is likely to remain marked in cultural policy discussions. For some cultural policy experts, current liberal pluralist conceptions of the “mutual bliss points” to be found through good will and negotiation seem “wildly intellectual in a realm of politics that arouses deep emotions” (Laitin, 1998, p. 236). The problem with treating culture as our sole source of moral guidance in debates on cultural policy is that “in the very nature of minority organization, there is the potential for ugliness that goes far beyond a liberal vision of politics” (Laitin, 1998, p. 236). Theorists of cosmopolitan accord too easily assume that collective cultural identities are willing to negotiate using rational democratic forms of discussion, putting aside the commitment to inalienable articles of faith and managing internal differences, including those between leaders and constituencies, extremists and moderates. As Everitt (1996) argues, commenting on UNESCO's Our Creative Diversity (World Commission on Culture and Development, 1995), which calls for a new global ethic to address cultural fragmentation, the appeal to universal values and collective reason misses the point about the need for street-level cultural resourcing and for a more pragmatic understanding of the endemic problems that plague the governance of cultural life.

    While it is true that all cultures object to murder, they disagree fundamentally on many other matters—and, in particular some of those dear to the commission's heart. A theocrat will have a very different view of democracy and human rights—a view that can be honestly held and culturally authentic. To take a practical example, what should teachers in front of a multiracial class in this country do when discussing such issues with their students? Should they let themselves be guided by a certain sense of relativity and not insist, say, on the equality of the sexes? Or should they assert the primacy of European values come what may? The recent rebellion among Muslim parents in Bradford about religious education in schools suggests that this is not an abstract question; for them tolerance is no virtue and it is not merciful to countenance heresy. The point is that today's culture is taking place messily on the streets, in under-funded schools, in video arcades and in bleak suburbs and favelas from Cairo to the Caucasus. It is a million miles away from the committee rooms of the great and is not readily susceptible to the application of reason, of sweetness and light. (Everitt, 1996, p. 32)4

    The comment brings us back to our core question of the responsibilities of states (or of communities themselves) for resourcing citizenries. We doubt whether it suffices to defer such problems to the collective conscience of ethnic communities or to the global community as a moral arbiter (cf. Stevenson, 1997). We also doubt whether advanced liberal societies have (morally speaking) outgrown the need for all forms of governance that fail to comply with the ethos of moral self-governance. This ethos may permit some political theorists to wash their hands of the dirty work of politics and government, but this is a luxury not afforded to those who make everyday decisions about the allocation of cultural resources, the arbitration of rights claims, and the trade-off between the common entitlements of citizens and the claims made in the name of collective political identities.

    To conclude, one reason why citizenship theorists may find applied cultural policy thinking good to think with is because it exemplifies the sheer variety of the political vocabularies, rationalities, and ethical, person-forming regimens at work in public policy. If political theory of citizenship and governance is to become less heavy handed in its applied approach to cultural policy, it will need to be able to recognize the difference between these cultural policy idioms, if not to speak them. To this end, let us now turn to the individual contributions to this volume, which offer fresh angles on these themes.

    The Scope and Focus of the Collection

    We turn first to a study of the politics of community in contemporary Britain. Nikolas Rose's chapter is the first of some broad-ranging discussions that undercut the theoretical counterconcepts through which the citizenship ethos is commonly defined: community being pitted against liberal-commercial values, the citizen against the consumer, and so on.

    Rose attempts to tease out what is distinctive about the expectations and practices attached to the current Blair government's much vaunted “Third Way” between the axial organizational principles of the market and the social-democratic/collectivist welfare state. Blair's program appears as a curious mixture of dogeared agendas and warm words drawn from the lexicons of social democracy and Victorian philanthropy (virtue, character, personal responsibility, etc.). The potent new ingredient slipped into this cocktail is a communitarian etho-politics inserted into British electoral political discourse and into ways of defining and addressing social policy problems.

    New Labour's philosophical template for an ethical overlay to supplement its neoliberal economic reform programs leans toward a fixed set of often traditional moral obligations, even if it is perhaps more open than its Conservative party predecessors were to the proliferation of new kinds of community and their distinctive ethical styles. Rose suggests that the current turn to governing through community is in part linked to the acculturating effects of attachments to commercially based lifestyle communities, some of which invent new ethical possibilities and contribute to societies' funds of civility. Nevertheless, the predominant thrust of Blairite etho-politics, argues Rose, is to drive government to abdicate its responsibilities in some areas, while either cruelly or absurdly overreaching itself in its zeal to make social policies across the board—from parental responsibility to social security—conform to a single moralizing vision.

    Whereas Rose was interested in recent developments, by which communal cultures have become targets and effects of government, Tony Bennett uses a Foucauldian frame of reference to explore historical continuities and shifts in the ways in which a staple object of cultural policy, the art museum, has been connected with social governance, including forms of community outreach. Bennett's genealogy points to the mundane origins of current museum practices, in 19th-century programs that pressed museums and other public utilities into campaigns against working-class drunkenness. In this way, he ironizes the language of citizen empowerment in current community-friendly deployments of art while casting a wry eye on critiques of the art world as socially exclusive.

    There is a further, theoretical twist to Bennett's argument. Historical comparison between governmental uses of art as a “means of acting on the social” offers a counterargument to social theory's tendency to make the cultural and the social coeval. Versions of this theoretical impulse in the cultural policy field can be found in arguments on cultural democracy, which tend to conceive every social practice or artefact as a bearer of cultural significance and as potentially formative of identity (e.g., Evrard, 1997; Stratton & Ang, 1994). Equity and diversity are invoked to criticize types of arts and cultural policy that, in the name of excellence, are said to privilege the mainstream Euro-American fine arts.

    This is the terrain investigated by Toby Miller in a study of a prominent flashpoint in the U.S. culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s, when the very idea of federal government subsidy for high art was brought into question. Miller's starting point is the moment when the U.S.'s peak arts funding body, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), came close to extinction in the mid-1990s at the hands of a resurgent Republican party captured by moral/religious die hards and a more diffuse anti-Federalist populism. Miller sketches a history of the NEA and tracks the evolution of the conservative-populist campaign to defund a perceived bastion of left-liberal or elite arts, paying careful attention to the range of ideologies mobilized by the NEA's defenders and critics. Future arguments on the ethical basis for public cultural support of the arts, Miller concludes, in a prostatist version of the cultural democracy argument, will need to find new rationales with deeper roots in an ethic of democratic political decision making.

    Certainly, arts policy in liberal democracies cannot afford to turn its back on demands for a more equitable distribution of cultural resources and for more civic participation regarding such matters. As we have seen, democratic citizenship can only be one consideration among others. Cultural equity is limited inter alia by “reasons of good government,” which derive from the specific characteristics, or convenience, of the activities to be governed (Foucault, 1991, p. 95). There can only be a limited number of intrinsically expensive and relatively unpopular cultural institutions such as opera to spread around. It has been observed that in the United States, during the 1980s culture war around arts subsidies,

    states and cities in which artists and art organisations are concentrated get more funding than one would expect on the basis of their population, but less than one would anticipate on the basis of their proportion of artists and artistic activities. (DiMaggio, 1991, p. 229)

    Principles of justice, democracy, or citizenship are too multifarious and contentious for there to be a single right answer to allocative questions. Yet, in the compromises, expert advice, and coalition building between government arts agencies and the cultural sector, upon which the survival, as well as the balance, of allocations depends (DiMaggio, 1991, p. 229), ethical considerations are still a factor. The ethical questions that are most likely to spring to mind are about the relative access and influence of prestigious arts institutions and less-established cultural traditions. But as the next chapter shows, there is more to the ethics of civic participation than the right to have one's say.

    Janice Besch and Jeffrey Minson attempt to cast the concept of citizen participation in policy making in a fresh light, as a prelude to formulating some ideas about the conflicting place of democratic opinion and the participation of cultural sector professionals in arts policy development. Drawing on an array of intellectual sources and firsthand experience in the arts policy field, their chapter sketches an alternative to the idealized image of the moral community of self-governing citizens that overarches most political advocacy and theoretical discussion of democratic participation. The authors draw attention to the multiple roles into which “actually existing” participation dissolves and to the more worldly ethical dispositions (and conflicting obligations) that are inseparable from responsible participation in those different capacities. The assumption that citizen participation is the highest form of democracy is further questioned by reference to the place of polling techniques in the policy process. The chapter then turns to some problems facing the cultural sector as a consequence of neoliberal microeconomic reform agendas and Australia's own version of the anti-elitist political challenges. These problems, it is suggested, require imaginative and supple responses: There does need to be more participation. Yet, even taking into account considerations such as cultural access and equity, identifying the kinds of participation required (and the kinds of participant) entails departing from the scripts provided by citizenship theory and civics manuals.

    Ian Hunter and Denise Meredyth mount a more direct and disquieting challenge to the grip on political theory of the image of the self-governing community. They put the case that a limited type of nondemocratic political sovereignty and its correlate, the political subjection of citizens to that authority, is not just a regrettable political fact but a historical prerequisite of liberal-democratic government itself. To separate state authority from democratic government is to situate one's thought in the vicinity of the notorious and largely forgotten early modern reason-of-state tradition. This chapter justifies a cautious renewal of interest in this tradition, or, more accurately, in the antimetaphysical tradition of civil political thought in which certain versions of reason-of-state doctrine were imbricated.

    The interest of this tradition is initially foreshadowed in a discussion of certain persistent aporia in contemporary international civic education programs and political theory. These problems can be sheeted home to a conception of legitimate state authority as founded in the reflectively based consensus of a self-governing citizenry. Intercultural antagonism of the sort displayed in l'affaire du foulard—the bitter controversy that broke out in France in 1989 over Muslim girls wearing the veil at school—is one such stumbling block for this variety of enlightened thinking. The inadequacy of all the main normative theoretical contenders in dealing with intercultural conflicts is a subject of repeated commentary in the academic literature (e.g., Bammer, 1994; Benhabib, 1992; Gergen, 1991; Hall & Du Gay, 1996), but the critics are seldom prepared to grasp the nettle of the necessary coexistence of democratic government and limited forms of subjection to a political sovereign as a condition for setting limits to destructive forms of communitarian conflict. Turning to history, the chapter suggests that these problems in contemporary political theory and civics are present in nuce both in Kant's philosophy and in the early modern German Protestant metaphysics of which that philosophy is a variant. In turn, these imperializing forms of thought and the incendiary forms of cultural politics to which they gave rise were the prime targets of a rival form of enlightenment, that of civil philosophy. An outline of this philosophy shows that not all reason-of-state doctrines are inimical to liberal-democratic government. Moreover, elements of this civil philosophy provide a way of clarifying modern problems of cultural and educational policy.

    The civic renewal and democratic education programs described by Hunter and Meredyth provide a vivid example of the global face of governmentality, which Barry Hindess discusses, reflecting on the consequences of relating national citizenship to its international conditions of existence. Hindess's argument partly parallels Hunter and Meredyth's, with its contrast between the reason-of-state thinking that undergirds the location of citizenship in nation states and the Kantian political metaphysics behind the whiggish view that the international spread of democratic citizenship represents a self-evident advance in human well-being. Optimism about democratic citizenship conventionally goes hand in hand with ideals of a cosmopolitan global citizenship (paradigmatically, human rights and environmental obligations) as a remedy for the contingent moral limits of national citizenship. But can this sanguine view be sustained if the spread of national citizenship and an international moral order in fact have little to do with human beings progressively acquiring the capacity to govern their own affairs? Citizenship appears in a harsher light when it is seen as the historical artefact of a supranational regime for the government of populations that works by partitioning everyone into discrete, territorially based competing national units under nominally sovereign governments. Citizenship in this perspective is unavoidably exclusivist and divisive, “a conspiracy against the rest of the world” (Hindess, this volume, p. 94). The political implications of this picture of international governance are unclear, but we are reminded that reason-of-state thinking is not something we should learn to love. It can still be chilling even if we learn to stop identifying it with its abuses and understand its more benign rationale.

    The expansion of international human rights conventions discussed by Anna Yeatman, in the subsequent chapter, could also be redescribed in terms of a regime of international governance. Yeatman herself is alert to the dangers of both underplaying the realpolitik dimension of human rights discourse and of envisioning a time when the tensions between human rights and national citizenship will be resolved: “They implicate phenomenologically different territories of right and being” (Yeatman, this volume, p. 105). Her main interest is in arriving at a better understanding of the ethical core of human rights claims. She asks what it is about human individuality in virtue of which it can be the source of the dignity that, according to United Nations conventions, is lost in human rights violations. How can the concept of the human as such bear this ethical weight, not in spite of but by virtue of its being so empty and abstract, in respect to sexual difference, class, culture, and so on? These considerations of what humanness consists form the basis of Yeatman's argument that human rights and liberal individualist citizen rights are distinct, overlaps notwithstanding.5

    One implication of Yeatman's discussion is that if cultural rights are to count as human rights, cultures have to be construed as communities of individual choice, not of fate. Then, at least in one respect, Yeatman argues, human rights entail placing some limits on cultures' rights of self-determination. She also contends that, in light of the exclusionary and subordinative implications of citizenship, “it is problematic for national state governments to be the only agents responsible for … the implementation and monitoring of human rights” (p. 115).

    These points return us to the tensions, but also interdependencies, between national and international governance. Limited acquiescence in United Nations conventions on economic, social, and political rights, especially by the United States, induces a certain pessimism about the range of conditions under which the international order can be expected to supply the human rights supplement that liberal national political orders cannot meet. Perhaps we should also resist the temptation to assume that the limits imposed on citizenship rights by their foundation in the legal and political decisions of sovereign states always have to be treated, morally speaking, as limitations to be overcome by reference to cosmopolitan citizenship. Attempting to institutionalize human rights claims within a democratic polity is likely to strike political, moral, and technical problems that cannot be solved at a higher global level.

    This is one of the lessons of the next chapter. Tim Rowse's study is about how social limits to aboriginal Australians' cultural autonomy might be negotiated. Moving between developments in Australian anthropology, politics, and public policy and international debates in political theory, Rowse suggests ways of rethinking some problems that have arisen in attempting to operate the principle of self-determination in aboriginal governance—for instance, around the so-called cultural appropriateness of applying standard accountability procedures regarding public resources within partly community-based apparatuses of government. Rowse constructs an argument that brings together Kukathas's (1992) attempt to steer a middle path based on the notion of associations between liberal individualist and communitarian/culturalist approaches to cultural rights and the instructive ways in which some Australian bureaucrats, consultants, and anthropologists—in submissions to a government review of aboriginal representative councils—picked their way through competing notions of accountability.

    The suggestion is that there are advantages in reworking public definitions of aboriginal collectivities around the associational idea. It allows space for distinctions to be made between private and public; associations are entitled to certain kinds of autonomy from big government, both public and private, in the way their group life evolves. One advantage of the long-neglected associationalist tradition in political theory (see Hirst, 1993; Nichols, 1975) is that although it is not exclusively obsessed with individual rights, it is not normative on the question of whether associations are based on mutual convenience or common affective bonds. An associationalist framework does not pressure citizens to bind themselves into fixed communal arrangements and customs. It is not antistatist and can contemplate the need for nation states to develop the capacities that some indigenous people need to acquire if they are to successfully practice a policy of self-determination.

    Rowse illustrates the flexibility afforded by this framework. Liberal arguments for limiting cultural rights usually turn on the need to protect individual liberties, including individual exit rights, from oppressive “internal restrictions” (Kymlicka, 1995, pp. 33–48), but a widespread problem that the governance and self-governance of aboriginal communities has to confront, inter alia exacerbating the problems of public support and accountability, is the frequent inclination of whole families and groups in a community to split off and form a new collectivity when conflicts arise. In these circumstances, public definitions of aboriginal collectivities as set cultural wholes are an obstacle, Rowse argues, to negotiating a settlement between concerns about aboriginal people misusing public monies (often but not entirely driven by right-wing complaints about special treatment), and aboriginal aspirations to make self-determination work for their own people and for the public good.

    Rowse's chapter, with its synthesis of theoretical, anthropological, and administrative thinking, further suggests that, as Rose points out, we should not underestimate the intellectual and political inventiveness exhibited in emerging tactics for governing through the relay of community—forms of inventiveness little dreamt of in communitarian philosophies and avant-garde experiments in living.

    In their chapter, Cunningham, Hawkins, Nguyen, Sinclair, and Yue also upset conventional expectations about the fit between citizenship and the public-private distinction. As well, they show how work in cultural policy provides alternatives to the tired theoretical trope that sets the figures of the citizen and the consumer in antithesis. The object of this essay is the media of multiculturalism. The chapter examines the ways in which diasporic communities in Australia (especially Vietnamese and Chinese Australians) organize to consume and produce media to dwell both within and outside the spaces of Asia, Australia, and the West. These practices occur beside and around the regulatory provisions of national media and cultural policy. Nevertheless, argue the authors, they cannot be taken as instances of either the decline of national state planning or the advance of globalization at the expense of the public sphere. Instead, a new take has to be developed on globalization, with the focus being on diasporic media serving global “narrowcast” audiences.

    The two diasporic communities at the center of the case studies defy categorization in terms of the familiar contrasts of citizenship theory. For example, Vietnamese Australians' use of VCRs illustrates a sociable face of commerce—supplying a demand for internationally distributed video entertainment shows, made in California, which afford one of the ways in which Vietnamese boat people and subsequent migrants have made themselves at home in a foreign land, while reaffirming and redefining their attachments to their nation if not their state of origin. These are, in significant respects, commercially organized communities. Citizenship literature, worried about passive citizenship, normally pays little attention and still less respect to peaceful consumption practices. Champions of democratic citizenship would like to see citizens with different identities and interests publicly engaged in a more obviously public “agonistic reciprocity” with one another (Ivison, 1997, p. 165, citing William Connelly), not sitting down to watch videos in their lounge rooms. Cunningham and his collaborators put a case for seeing the living rooms of Vietnamese Australians and their compatriots in related countries as “vibrant spaces of self- and community-making,” internationally embedded components of a public sphere or “sphericule” formed along diasporic trade routes. It is a further instantiation of the consumer- and lifestyle-based civility-community game that Rose has suggested is so central nowadays to the ways in which identity is being formed. Here is a small, unprogrammed way in which problems of peaceful coexistence in diversity and cultural maintenance come to be settled without reference to theoretical questions of how to reconcile ideals of the common good with respect for cultural difference.

    Finally, as an antidote to both pessimistic and optimistic generalizations about the deregulatory consequences of globalized communications, Julian Thomas offers a biting critique of the assumption that Internet use cannot or should not be the object of national regulation and cultural policy. Public computer networks are often regarded as tools of freedom, challenging for national governments with their aging systems of cultural regulation, but liberating for individual users. But are national regulatory systems and their cultural policy objectives really so irrelevant to the Information Age? Thomas argues that the libertarian expectations of digital networks have so far been disappointed and that the historical tasks of liberal government have not been forsaken, although their reformulation for a new technological context is proving difficult. Traditional forms of national cultural regulation, such as intellectual property and content regulation, are the focus of a new period of public debate and policy review. These processes disclose a shift toward information policy: a new alignment of commercial, cultural, and technological governance. Such a transition is a fateful moment for the complicated arrangements devised to settle public and private interests in analogue cultural policy.

    Summing up, editors are well advised to resist the temptation to administer too closely how readers will approach their offerings, all of which possess their own stand-alone interest. Our introduction has simply sought to suggest some of the ways in which our contributors' chapters resonate with one another, offer correctives to problems with theoretical treatments of national and international citizenship, and illustrate the dynamism and relevance for citizenship of the increasingly important field of cultural policy studies.


    1. For a range of discussions of the cultural policy field, from different perspectives, see Rowse (1985), Bianchini (1991), Bianchini & Parkinson (1993), Cunningham (1992), Lewis (1994), Craik (1996), McGuigan (1996), Crawley (1997), Evrard (1997), Wyszomirski (1998), and Bennett (1998).

    2. Even the most realist of political theorists sometimes subscribe to this Utopian image of government. Robert Dahl, for instance, identifies government primarily with the actions of a regime, qua representatives of a sovereign people, addressing problems by passing laws or more broadly making “binding decisions” (Dahl, 1989, p. 107) that are (normatively) expected to meet constitutionally, philosophically, or opinion-based tests of public justification.

    3. There are, of course, distinct national traditions of political debate on government's responsibility for public culture. For example, the United States has been portrayed as giving “grudging, sporadic, and marginal” public support to the arts (Billington, 1992, p. 101), by comparison with the levels of state support offered by German and French governments, whose semi-independent arts councils have been benefactors of national culture heritage, the fine arts and performing arts, with some commitment to more diverse popular cultural forms (see Harris, 1995; Koning, 1995; Mulcahy, 1998). In light of the neoliberal turn taken in cultural policy in these European countries and others with strong statist traditions such as Canada, these contrasts are apt to be overdrawn (see Zemans, 1997).

    4. See also Swanson's (1997) comment on the same report and its construction of the relationship between cultural policy and culture industries.

    5. The right to individuality underpinning human rights is also the fulcrum of many philosophical and constitutional definitions of citizen rights. In both cases, the presumption is that no one ought to be in any respect subject to another. There being no middle ground between liberty and servitude in this perspective (Kriegel, 1995)—and this is another way to characterize what Hunter and Meredyth see as the stumbling block of both liberal and antiliberal theory—the relation of political subject to state sovereign and hence the state itself should on this reasoning ultimately be abolished, in conformity with the familiar Kantian ideal of cosmopolitan moral self-governance (cf. Hindess, 1996). What primarily makes us citizens, as distinct from bearers of human rights, seems to be also determined at a less elevated level. It is the fact that we hold a passport issued by a particular state, in relation to which we are in many respects political subjects.

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