Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to the Technological University Dublin, 2013.


This thesis addresses cultural policy. It proposes that the creative city urban development paradigm is a useful perspective from which cultural policy can be analysed in order to reveal the imperatives, pressures, contingencies and deficits within it and the state, vis-à-vis the market. The thesis, therefore, rests on three analytical pillars: the general field of cultural policy, the specific construct of the creative city paradigm, and an investigation of relations between these domains through a study of policy texts in Scotland, Finland and Ireland. Using Michel Foucault’s discourse formation theory and Jurgen Habermas’s concepts of lifeworld, system, legitimation and colonisation, the dissertation demonstrates that instrumental discourses like the creative city are used to legitimate cultural policies by providing tangible rationales for investment in culture and by addressing local state issues, though this process ultimately works to delegitimate cultural policy. The thesis also shows that cultural policies typically deploy conflicting and dual discourses that appeal to the interests of the state and the public, as well as obfuscating prevailing state ideologies. It is argued that this characteristic has developed because of difficulties with defining culture, the weakness of the policy sector and the state’s interest in sustaining itself. From the case material, therefore, it is firstly demonstrated that cultural policy does not have a tangible policy mandate, is not a sui generis area of public policy, and is primarily used to address central government agendas and other policy sectors. It is further shown that this understanding of cultural policy is held at the highest political levels and therefore constitutes the a priori purpose of contemporary cultural policy. Secondly, using Peter Sloterdijk’s concept of cynical reason, this thesis demonstrates that the dependency and perpetual case-making of the cultural sector evident in rational instrumental discourses like the creative city, leads to a cynicism amongst the stakeholders of cultural policy ii which impacts on the functioning of their relationships. Thirdly, though instrumentalism is endemic to all policy, cultural policy’s dependency, weak status and relationship to the market are reflexively linked and lead to a structural or cyclical instrumentalism in cultural policy. This cycle of instrumentalism exacerbates difficulties amongst stakeholder relationships, and can result in a colonisation or imbalance between political-economic and socio-cultural imperatives in a policy sector that is already in deficit, with implications for the state. This analysis, therefore, results in a new consideration of the role and implications of the creative city paradigm in relation to cultural policy, public policy and the state


Included in

Education Commons