This thesis presents a comparative study of cultural policy in Britain and Italy. It provides a historical reconstruction of the cultural, legal and administrative contexts for cultural policy-making in the two countries, with a view of highlighting how cultural policy priorities have changed over time. The discussion of the growing popularity, in Italy, of notions of the cultural heritage as an engine for local economic development and as a resource that can allow the government to find the resources it needs to finance infrastructural works is given particular emphasis. Indeed, this probably represents the most original contribution made to the field of cultural policy research, in that Italy is a much under-researched country, and extant literature in English is almost non-existent. The main argument that the discussion aims to substantiate is that, despite being rooted in very different cultural and administrative traditions, both the British and Italian cultural policy debates seem to display a growing popularity of an instrumentalist rhetoric, which justifies public subsidy of the cultural sector on the grounds of the alleged beneficial impacts of the sector in the social and economic spheres. The main contribution of the thesis to the current understanding of instrumental cultural policy is therefore to offer plausible explanations for this recent trend. The thesis argues that the current situation, both in Italy and the UK, can be best understood in the light of the global phenomenon of neo-liberal globalisation, and the tendency for policy-transfer between countries that it tends to promote
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