Cultural Policy – Theory, Method & Analysis

Course content

This course gives a comprehensive introduction to the field of cultural policy and serves as a mandatory first part of the cultural policy module. In this course students will gain insights into the different contours of ‘the culture of cultural policy’, ‘the policy of cultural policy’ and how these relate to the field of cultural production and consumption. Main theoretical approaches will be explained and particular attention will be given to the concept of public spheres and counter-publics, governmentality, power, discursive formations, control societies, nationalism, the cultural industries, the experience economy and the platform society. Amongst scholars informing these concepts are Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Sara Ahmed, Kate Oakley, Anthony Smith, Evelyn Ruppert, Chantal Mouffe, Claire Bishop, Theodor Adorno, Jose van Dijck and David Hesmondhalgh.


The first part of the course will lay the theoretical foundations while the latter part will be dedicated to methods and case studies. The main methods introduced and applied will be critical discourse analysis, qualitative interviews, focus groups, qualitative content analysis and observations. In terms of cases, the course will apply a spatial approach focusing on how cultural policy shapes structures within micro-, meso-, and macro spheres exemplified with urban, local and municipality cultural policies; the cultural policies of different nation-states; as well as cultural policy in supra-national settings such as that of the European Union.


The goal of the course is to provide students with adequate tools to conduct research within the field of cultural policy. In this context the relations between theoretical framework, methodological design and analysis will be emphasised and applied on different cases of relevance to cultural policy. In order to pass this first part of the cultural policy module, students are therefore requested to do one mandatory assignment defined by the responsible teacher.


The course is further divided into three parts:


• The first and the second session will be focused on course introduction and general framing of the

field of cultural policy. This framing will occur through reading and discussing the first three chapters of David Bell’s and Kate Oakley’s book Cultural Policy, focusing particularly on the ‘culture of cultural policy’ and the ‘policy of cultural policy’. Additionally, key definitional texts will be read and related to Nordic characteristics of cultural policy, as well as texts on cultural politics, class, gender and race.


• The second part is composed of detailed theoretical orientations and aims to introduce relevant theoretical frameworks to the study of cultural policy. These sessions treat the conceptual frameworks of the public and public spheres, governmentality, radical democracy, control societies,

nationalism, the cultural industries, experience economy and the platform society. Concomitant to discussions of these theories, relevant cases of cultural policy significance, will be introduced and analysed.


• The third part consists of a whole-day theory and method workshop where students conduct their mandatory project. Participation in the workshop is therefore compulsory.



Moderne Kultur og Kunsthistorie

The course is based on sessions that each last four hours. During these sessions, the lecturer will explain central texts followed by discussions and targeted practices. At the end of the course, we have a whole-day theory and method workshop where students engage in working with theories and methods that are fundamental to the field of cultural policy. First part of the workshop will focus on theory where students work in groups and prepare discussions in plenum on how the assigned theories can be used to scrutinize a given topic assigned by the teacher. The second part of the workshop is dedicated to methods and here students are asked to read the assigned texts for the day, i.e. texts on critical discourse analysis, document analysis, semi-structured qualitative interviews, focus groups, observations and qualitative content analysis. Students will keep on working in groups, now on inspecting how different methods match and inform their theoretical explorations. Participation in the workshop accounts for the mandatory project. Active participation in this whole-day arrangement therefore gives the key to further advancement in the cultural policy module


(Her skal du beskrive det litteraturgrundlag, som kurset er baseret på. Det skal fremgå, hvilke bøger eller kompendier, som de studerende skal anskaffe og du skal give nogle forslag til litteratur, som de studerende kan læse forud for kursusstarten, hvis de ønsker det).


Students are asked to obtain the following textbook for the course:

Bell, David & Oakley, Kate. 2015. Cultural Policy. Routledge: London & New York.


A compendium with the course’s title – Cultural Policy: Theory, method & analysis – is made available and can be purchased at the start of the semester.


Students are required to acquire online articles and book chapters themselves through their University of Copenhagen logins in KUBIS.


Examples of literature:


Adorno, Theodor. 2001. “Culture Industry Reconsidered”. The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. Routledge Classics, London and New York, pp. 98-106.


Ahmed, Sara. 2014. “Introduction: Feel Your Way”. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburg, pp. 1-19.


Bishop, Claire. 2012. “The Social Turn: Collaboration and Its Discontents”. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. Verso, London & New York, pp. 11-40.


Butler, Judith. 2015. “Gender Politics and the Right to Appear”. Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. Cambridge & London, Harvard University Press, pp. 24-65.


Foucault, Michel. 2002. ”Governmentality”. Power: Essential works of Foucault 1954-1984. Volume 3. (James D. Faubion (ed.). Penguin Books, London, pp. 201-222.


Habermas, Jürgen. 1992. ”Social Strutures of the Public Sphere”. Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere: An inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Polity Press, Cambridge, pp. 27-43 & 51-56.


Mouffe, Chantal. 1999. ”Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism”. Social Research, 66 (3), pp. 745-758.


Williams, Raymond. 1981. ”Towards a Sociology of Culture”. Culture. Fontana Press, London, pp. 9-32.






The cultural policy subject in Art History and Modern Culture is divided in two parts. The first part is mandatory for all students and consists of this course – Cultural Policy: Theory, method & analysis. In the second part, students choose one of the following three courses: Digital Cultural Politics; Censurens kulturpolitik; or Demokratisering af kunst og kulturelt demokrati.

Type of assessment
All aids allowed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 192
  • English
  • 220


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

Fall 2022
Study board of Arts and Cultural Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of Arts and Cultural Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator
  • Bjarki Valtýsson   (9-7d68737b807a7a7675476f7c7435727c356b72)

Bjarki Valtysson

Saved on the 05-05-2022

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