What is the function of culture in the EU? Mere window dressing? Or are people working in the cultural sphere truly given opportunities to practice their crafts and stimulate the public to think innovatively? The answer to both questions is “yes”. European Union cultural policy enables exciting projects to take off. It is also a showpiece of social engineering, fashioned with all the tools of conservatism and managed top-down, from somewhere on the right of centre. The discussion about European citizenship and “Fortress Europe” should be made part of the cultural policy debate. Culture is not a fenced-off zone. It is an ideological powerhouse, capable of influencing as well as being influenced by the issues surrounding citizenship. Arguably, it is not unreasonable to use culture as an instrument to create a European identity, intended to complement the national one. But it is disconcerting to see this done without debate. And on the basis of “classical European values”.
more from Erik Hammar at Eurozine here.