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Nexus Nederland. Een onderzoek naar waarderegimes in de uitvoering van het internationaal cultuurbeleid.

By R. Schurer


The following report contains a sociological study of the execution of the Dutch international cultural policy. The general purpose was to increase knowledge of the values involved when diplomacy and art come together for the promotion of Dutch culture abroad. A string of events gave rise to this research where key figures from the art world came in conflict with the diplomatic world. The first part of the study contains an explorative research of historical factors that remain a constant in the public discourse on Dutch international cultural policy. A thorough historical analysis showed that at least three important elements continue to be hotly debated: the use of the definition of ‘culture’ (only the arts or a broader explanation, for example Dutch identity); the place where the primary responsibility for the international cultural policy should lie (The Ministry of Culture or The Ministry of Foreign Affairs); and lastly the way policy is executed (through embassies and consulates or through autonomous cultural institutions). Analyzing debate around these three elements the principal conclusion of the first part of the study confirmed that art and diplomacy were predominantly ruled by very different value regimes. At the end of the study it was hypothesised that these different forms of worth were the primary source for past and existing conflicts and that they could withhold potential for innovative compromise as well. These findings led up to the second and descriptive part of the study which examined exactly how the dominant value regimes in diplomacy and art could relate to one another in the advancement of Dutch culture abroad. A new conceptual model was created out of the three theoretical components: six different value regimes, the Actor Network Theory, and the concept of ‘value brokerage.’ A case-study was applied here that rested primarily on twenty-six in-depth interviews, mainly with key figures in diplomacy and the arts. The results from the chosen cases revealed that relations between value regimes can be marked through great conflict as well as through pioneering compromises. It was concluded that the promotion of Dutch culture benefits from a collaboration of actors in heterogeneously networked regimes. This can create a nexus: a newly formed space in which a new and distinctive economy of worth can be built. The results of the study indicated that art has the possibility to flourish in such a nexus. Also it was revealed that when a compromise is managed effectively by the right value broker(s) it may generate a value surplus that trickles down to the advantage of all the regimes involved. The role of value broker may be fulfilled by many different people (for example the monarch, an ambassador or attaché) provided they posses the personal and intercultural skills to move comfortably in various value regimes and connect actors from these different worlds. The conceptual model proved very well fit to access the challenges in the execution of Dutch international cultural policy. In the final part of this analysis the results from the case-study were linked with the three elements from the explorative research to reach the following conclusions. That in order to fulfil optimal conditions to create a compromise between different value regimes it was recommended that the execution of Dutch international cultural policy would benefit from a broad definition of ‘culture.’ That a shared responsibility between The Ministry of Culture and The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be preferred, especially when that collaboration is managed by an established value broker. And finally that in principle an embassy is best suited to execute international cultural policy, provided that the current practice of cultural diplomacy is vastly reformed, otherwise cultural diplomacy should be outsourced to autonomous cultural institutes.

Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:ub.rug.nl:dbi/4c7e3ec229285
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