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Title: Critical discourses of cultural policy and artistic practice : a comparative study of the contemporary dance fields in the UK and Germany
Author: Byrne, Tatjana
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 5107
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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The advent of overtly instrumental cultural policy making since the 1990s in Europe shows variations in both its articulation and implementation. Whilst discourses of globalisation and neo-liberalism are frequently cited to justify policy instrumentalism, a consistent explanation of how policy making in different countries is linked to localised outcomes is not apparent. This thesis aims to close this explanatory gap by investigating the institutional arrangements of policy making and implementation in two European countries with distinct traditions of cultural administration, i.e. the UK and Germany, using the contemporary dance sector in each country as a site of investigation. This thesis adopts a comparative-historical approach to examine firstly, the cultural policy and contemporary dance sectors of the UK and Germany, using key policy texts and initiatives to uncover the primary logics inherent in the texts. Secondly, we identify how these extrinsic logics are privileged at the expense of alternative, intrinsic logics using rhetorical strategies imported from other policy areas. Thirdly, we apply a moderated form of critical discourse analysis to examine how these strategies and logics are appropriated by actors and organizations in the dance fields of both countries using Bourdieuian concepts of capital to effect changes of identity and legitimacy as a means to gain access to scarce resources. Finally, we assess the impact of instrumental policies on organizational practices and identity using case examples from both Germany and the UK. The emphasis on discourses generated by both policy makers and dance practitioners and organizations reflects the social constructivist perspective inherent in the analysis of the thesis. Furthermore the underlying assumption that much of what is under investigation is dependent on the context in which it is situated, signifies that more than one interpretation of the observations is possible. We use embedded case study examples that are representative of the contemporary dance sector in the UK and Germany and intended as illumination rather than as a deductive source of material for theory building. Thus, we adhere to the particularist view of convergent and divergent discourses and practices, whereby both institutional arrangements and culture are key determinants in the explanation of variations in cultural policy and its outcomes between countries. We argue that variations in socio-political and historical trajectories, institutional structures and processes mediate the forms of compliance and resistance observed amongst dance practitioners in each country. This thesis contributes to the literature on institutional logics by examining the nature of power relationships between dance practitioners and cultural and political organizations in constructing identity and legitimacy for artistic practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available