© 2017

Public Culture, Cultural Identity, Cultural Policy

Comparative Perspectives


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-li
  2. Politics and Patronage

  3. Ideology and Identity

  4. Back Matter
    Pages 181-201

About this book


This book places the study of public support for the arts and culture within the prism of public policy making. It is explicitly comparative in casting cultural policy within a broad sociopolitical and historical framework. Given the complexity of national communities, there has been an absence of comparative analyses that would explain the wide variability in modes of cultural policy as reflections of public cultures and cultural identity. The discussion is internationally focused and interdisciplinary. Mulcahy contextualizes a wide variety of cultural policies and their relation to politics and identity by asking a basic question: who gets their heritage valorized and by whom is this done?The fundamental assumption is that culture is at the heart of public policy as it defines national identity and personal value.


Democratic Cultural Patronage Cultural Pluralism Patronage Cultural Darwinism Cultural Commodification Cultural Policy Cultural Diplomacy Hegemony comparative politics cultural policy culture economics Europe philosophy Policy political science political theory politics public administration public policy social science sociology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Political ScienceLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

About the authors

Kevin V. Mulcahy is the Sheldon Beychok Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at Louisiana State University, USA, and received his PhD from Brown University, USA. He is the co-author or co-editor of six books, including Public Policy and the Arts and America’s Commitment to Culture (1995), as well as over fifty articles in scholarly journals and chapters in edited books. He has served as Executive Editor of the Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society for sixteen years.

Bibliographic information

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“In recent years, cultural policy research has been increasingly preoccupied by economics, planning, participation, and arts advocacy. Public Culture is an invitation to re-engage with the crucial question of identity in cultural policy research. This book confirms the originality and timeliness of Political Science's outlook on cultural policy.” (Jonathan Paquette, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Ottawa, Canada)

“Arguing that cultural polices are embedded in political values, Mulcahy explores the promotion of cultural identity in contrasting national and sub-national contexts. Demonstrating impressive intellectual range, Mulcahy deploys comparative perspectives to yield valuable, new insights into the political function of cultural policies.” (Oliver Bennett, Emeritus Professor of Cultural Policy, the University of Warwick, UK and Editor of International Journal of Cultural Policy)

“This book covers an extensive review of key topics of interest to readers and students of public policy, culture, ideology and identity and colonialism. Professor Mulcahy notes so well that culture is about human expression and identity as he explores in different international contexts, how policy and administration has varied in modality and effect as a reflection of broader political ideologies and administrative traditions. This book makes a valuable contribution to the literature on cultural policy in the broadest sense.” (Stephen Boyle, Associate Professor, University of South Australia, Australia)