Reframing instrumentality: from New Public Management to New Public Governance

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This article examines how cultural policies focused on Democratisation of Culture and Cultural Democracy are affected by different public administration regimes, namely New Public Management (NPM) and New Public Governance (NPG). The NPM era saw a focus on performance measurement and goal setting in the pursuit of democratizing culture, while the NPG expects cultural institutions to take responsibility for widening access through projects involving non-users and NGOs. Cultural Democracy policies experienced an increase in demands for documented impacts under NPM, while the NPG emphasized participatory decision-making, and for cultural institutions to “do good”. The article argues that NPG changes the appearance of instrumentality. In the era of NPG, actors in the field of culture 1) are expected to explore their own potential for innovation, 2) are expected to contribute on equal terms with other public institutions to the solution of society’s pressing problems, and 3) experience a trend where cultural work is framed as doing good or creating change. This situation makes it difficult to identify and criticize instrumentality. The NPG conceals the disadvantages of instrumental cultural policy and makes it difficult to question it. The NPG reframes instrumentality as something that should be taken for granted, something positive, and because it is initiated from below, something that is not even recognizable as instrumental cultural policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Policy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

ID: 361148841