New perspectives on instrumentalism : stratagems, subversion and the case of cultural diplomacy

NISBETT, Melissa Jane (2011). New perspectives on instrumentalism : stratagems, subversion and the case of cultural diplomacy. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This thesis examines the emergence of 'cultural diplomacy' within UK cultural policy to explore the policy-making process.

The literature review in Chapter Two observes that instrumental cultural policies are largely discussed in philosophical and binary terms, rather than being investigated empirically or a more nuanced approach taken. Questions are raised as to the empirical grounding of cultural policy studies and a disconnection between theory and practice is identified, which proves to be a recurrent theme.

The focus then shifts to an exploration of the methodological framework in Chapter Three. Based on a narrative account, the empirical process is defined, described and justified, outlining the sampling strategy, data collection methods and data analysis process. Within this, an empirical vacuum within cultural policy studies is revealed.

Chapter Four argues that the written policy and strategy documents are rationales for the protection, survival and growth of the government department, agency and museum that they represent, as opposed to the operational action plans that they first appear or are assumed to be.

Chapter Five presents the interview data to uncover the concealed mechanics of policy-making. Rather than being formalised as a written document, a new instrumental policy is created on the basis of informal verbal exchanges and social interactions between a cultural elite. This policy expands the scale and scope of existing cultural work, proving that instrumental policies can be beneficial, open, non-prescriptive and flexible, in stark contrast to the literature on the subject. The empirical data from document analysis and interviews reveal an unexpected scenario whereby the conventional power structure is subverted and the arts covertly resist top-down management.

Chapter Six reflects on the case of cultural diplomacy in relation to the making of policy more generally. Drawing on a number of examples from political science, this chapter demonstrates that the findings from the empirical data are not distinct or unique, but are common features within social policy.

The research concludes by calling for a better understanding of instrumental cultural policies. Recommendations are made to strengthen the empirical base of the field, reexamine key assumptions and look beyond cultural studies to ensure quality, accuracy and credibility within research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Moss, Linda
Thesis advisor - Critcher, Chas
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2011 11:05
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 12:23

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