Governance of or through Culture?: Artistic Exchange Programs, Cultural Policy and European Integration
Mirroring Jacques Delors’ much quoted “No one falls in love with a common market,” cultural activists, politicians – and artists – have increasingly emphasized ‘culture’ as a vital tool in the EU integration process. Yet, how these programs for ‘cultural exchange and dialogue’ affect artistic production, and reception, is rarely discussed. This paper interrogates how the arts and aesthetic expression are made politically productive, both on the national level in Germany and Turkey, and in the processes of European integration. It proposes that while EU cultural initiatives indeed produce a kind of ‘Europeanization,’ they do so mainly through institutional incorporation. However, this type of integration tends to recast power differentials within the EU and beyond, as cultural exchange programs frequently reinforce distinctions between ‘art proper’ and ‘ethnic cultural production,’ an issue that will be illustrated by discussing what happens when contemporary art from Turkey travels to Western Europe, and particularly to Germany.
December 21, 2009