Ambiguity and cultural policy

Article English OPEN
Gray, Clive (2015)
  • Publisher: Hoegskolan i Boraas
  • Subject: HM | CB

The peculiarities of cultural policy as a policy sector give rise to many difficulties for policy-makers – particularly the creation of poorly-defined and confused policies – stemming from the essentially-contested nature of the core concept with which it is dealing. This is identified as a problem of policy ambiguity, with ambiguity being endemic to the sector. This ambiguity is expressed in multiple ways in terms of policy contents, expectations, outputs, outcomes and mechanisms, and these serve to make the sector a subject of political disagreements, policy inconsistencies and evaluation confusion. Differences between ambiguity as a deliberate choice for policy participants, and as a consequential effect of the structural characteristics of the policy sector are identified. The results of these in terms of the policy forms that are generated for the cultural sector, and the creation of dissent about these – and about the legitimacy and rationality of cultural policies – are identified, as are the results of ambiguity in terms of expectations, contestation, clarity, implementation effectiveness and the control of policy.\ud
  • References (1)

    Ahearne, J (2009), 'Cultural Policy Implicit and Explicit: A Distinction and Some Uses', International Journal of Cultural Policy, 15, 141-53 Alesina, A & A. Cukierman (1990), 'The Politics of Ambiguity', The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 105, 829-50 March, J & J. Olsen (1979), Ambiguity and Choice in Organizations (2nd Ed, Oslo, Scandinavian University Press)

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