On cultural policy: where we've been and where we're going

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A definition of cultural policy as being any government policy directed towards culture has the virtue of brevity, but it is far too simplistic to capture the variety of ways in which public policy affects culture in different countries. This variety is caused partly by the imprecise nature of the word culture itself. In some circumstances, for example, culture is taken to mean just the arts, so that in countries where this connotation applies, the terms “arts policy” and “cultural policy” can be used interchangeably. In other jurisdictions, culture is interpreted in a broader sociological or anthropological sense, and in such a context cultural policy takes on a wider meaning, embracing any interaction between the public sector and the cultural life of the community; in such cases the term might even be extended as far as to encompass policy towards education. Furthermore the term cultural policy may also be used to include decision-making by non-government bodies in the arts and culture, including performing companies, arts organisations, cultural institutions, and so on.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of cultural economics Japan
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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