09 2004

Regional Strategies

On Spatial Aspects of European Cultural Policy

Raimund Minichbauer

commissioned by EFAH for its 2004 General Assembly and Annual Conference "Moving Territories. Culture in a Europe of Regions", 28th-31st October, Lille, France.


The process of globalization marks a change in the dynamics of political, economic and social correlations at all territorial levels. The change in the function of nation states and, in parallel with it, the increasing importance of regional levels is one of the most striking developments in this context.

In a European context the regions have been seen to have mounting importance since the 1980s, this having also been reflected at the political-institutional level with, for example, the founding of the (Europe-wide) "Assembly of European Regions"[1] in the mid-eighties and the intensification of EU/EC regional policy, and finally the resolution contained in the Maastricht Treaty (1991) to set up official representation at EU level with the "Committee of the Regions"[2]. By the mid-nineties discussions about the regions had reached a high point, and they have subsequently remained present on the daily agenda.

With the 2004/2007 enlargements and the attendant increase in the economic and social inequalities within the European Union, the question of levelling spatial disparities is increasingly being posed, and not just simply along a dichotomy between old and new member states. The line of enquiry, for instance, addresses the impact of growing regional inequalities 'within' the new member states on the "overall balance" and hence the total dynamics at the various territorial levels.[3]

The present position paper attempts to site the logic of the regional 'mobilization' since the eighties, referred to, in the context of neoliberal globalization and to outline the role of the cultural field and 'culture' within this logic. Based on this analysis, the second part attempts to outline critical positions and strategies to combat the instrumentalization of art practices and cultural concepts in the field of culture/politics.

For their critical discussion of this text, I wish to thank my colleagues at eipcp, Andrea Hummer, Therese Kaufmann and Gerald Raunig.

I. Mapping the regions

1. Space/region

A region is not a given - neither physically, socially nor mentally. It is a construct that has been and is repeatedly being remodelled, transformed and created afresh. There is a great variety of social processes that structure the space, and they are characterized by disputes and clashes. One measure in these clashes may consist of determining a specific perception of a territory in absolute terms, of constituting it as a subject and supporting it with an identity construct. Eventually, then, the actual nature of the contrivedness of regional identities is also rendered invisible.

The question of how plausible these identities appear is especially bound up with common notions of space. In particular, two opposing notions appear relevant here, originating from concepts related to physics: the concept of the 'container' space goes back to Newton and forms the spatial model of classical physics. In this notion, 'space' exists independently of material bodies, like a box that is filled with objects. In the 'relational' space concept, on the other hand, an "empty space" that exists independently of physical objects is unimaginable. 'Space' does not exist as a reality in its own right but is a "relational scheme of physical objects"[4].

The classical model of the 'container' space largely shapes our everyday consciousness, forming the basis for traditional approaches to our social-science and political concepts of space: from classical sociology through landscape geography to neoclassical economics, positing the "national territory", for example, as the predetermined space/container 'filled' with people and objects.

More recent and critical concepts are often akin to the 'relational' view of space[5]. Once the idea of a fixed entity created by means of the 'container' or, say that of a region imagined in those terms, has been surmounted, the permanent processes of spatial structuring and the intrinsic dynamics of the different spatial levels - physico-territorial, politico-institutional, social, functional, linguistic, economic - become ascertainable.

Whatever is now characterized as a 'region' by these space-structuring processes is geared above all to scale, or more precisely: to the correlation with particular (presupposed) scales. Region, in this respect, denotes an "intermediary space positionable in relation to, respectively, larger and smaller spaces (the world, a continent, a nation state, for instance). Relative to the nation state context, region includes all 'spatial' phenomena not assignable to local or national level."[6]

The coordinates are thus given for the multiplicity of regions that we in Europe encounter empirically: as regards the space-structuring levels to which the relevant definition of a region primarily relates, the components range from physico-geographical through functional (functional metropolitan region) and historical right up to the auxiliary concept for conceptualizing enterprise clusters; as regards the question of institutionalization, the gamut ranges from the constitutionally guaranteed region with its elected government and comprehensive legislative competences through purely administrative units to the commercial or tourist region, which is formally institutionalized only in an association, for example, or not at all; and as regards scale, in terms of the above definition, the 'spatial' phenomena between continent and nation state would also have to be recorded as 'regional', such as Mediterranean space, Eastern Europe, the European Union.

When following those discourses in the text that relate to particular elements arising from it - for instance, the political-institutionally organized regions between local and national level in their relationship with the nation states and the EU, or economically defined regions - we always try to simultaneously keep open the multiplicitous concept of the region that renders the positive materialistic qualities of the regional accessible too - i.e. all forms of 'particularism' in the positive sense, e.g. hands-on, in-situ knowledge.


2. Post-Fordist regionalization

The relationship much discussed for a number of years now between regions and nation states should be viewed in the light of its longstanding historical background. In the Middle Ages and the more recent modern era the politics that existed in Europe were highly diverse in territorial terms and, particularly from the beginning of the 19th century onwards, governed by the nation-state framework of reference. With the construction of national economies, 'cultures', languages, social spaces etc. as part of the educational framework of modern nation states, regional differences were increasingly levelled. Following the end of World War II, two political phases in 'Western' Europe became distinguishable with reference to regional levels[7]: the first phase, which attained its zenith in the 1960s and early 70s, is positioned within the context of the nation state. As a frame of reference, this was not questioned; however, solutions did need to be found for spatial disparities within the nation state, and the region seemed to be the appropriate setting. The second phase began in the eighties and entailed consolidation of the regional levels in the context of globalization, a change in the function of the nation state and in European integration.

Between the two phases is a rupture in economic, social and political logic. In respect of the production regime, that breach is construed as the transition from Fordism to post-Fordism or, in a more generalizing form, as the start of neoliberal globalization. Part of this sea-change involves local and regional-level developments which, as it were, form a counterpart to that neoliberal globalization and are referred to below as "post-Fordist regionalization".

Fordism - characterized by industrial mass production, vertical institutionalization, realignment of the relationship between work and capital, and national-economic redistribution through social legislation and the welfare state[8] - was primarily geared to the regulation parameter of the nation state and aimed at equalization within this framework. Such unequal regional developments as did arise had to be moderated and stemmed "through targeted structural policy, such as the settlement of industrial sites in less developed regions."[9] The policy was explicitly aimed at equalization; economic potentials were, so to speak, diverted from prospering regions into disadvantaged regions.

Above all, the disintegration of this formation, discernible at various levels, fuelled by neoliberal deregulation and marked in its progression, which is described as post-Fordism, also means the accomplishment of a new production geography. And as a complement to the globalization of commerce, territorial effects and strategies arose, bringing the regional levels squarely to the fore.[10] Economic sciences and policies discovered the region as a relevant spatial dimension in the post-Fordist production setting: for the clusters and networks that came about from the partial dissolution and 'deregulation' of hierarchic-centralist large-scale enterprises; in the context of the 'embeddedness' of economic trading in social settings etc. In tandem, political-level 'deregulation' also took place, resulting in decentralization in both the geographical (regionalization) and the structural sense (involvement of trade associations, representation of special interests, NGOs etc.). Developing the 'endogenous potential' of regional and local entities - i.e. processes not determined by externalities, but unfolding from 'intrinsic' scope for development - became the catchphrase of regional policy, and a "territorial mobilization"[11] was set in motion, which has lasted down to this day.

In rather diagrammatic form, it can be summarized thus: the regional policy of the Fordist nation state, which aimed to equalize regional disparities, faded into the background in favour of an approach which was committed to the development of specific regional opportunities in each case and hence simultaneously heightened the inequalities and rivalry between the regions. The intensity with which the adverse effects of neoliberal capitalism make themselves felt in the process depends on the regional structure in question and, of course, on the political interventions at various territorial levels (regional, nation-state and European levels).

Particularly with reference to opportunities for nation-state regulation, these differences have been elucidated by Susanne Heeg using the example of reactions to the Fordism crisis in Britain and (West) Germany during the eighties. Whereas in (West) Germany, social-state and regional policy, geared to territorial equalization, hardly changed "when new problem situations began to emerge during the Fordism crisis, i.e. the deindustrialization of the old industrial regions, in particular, such as the Ruhrgebiet)"[12], in Britain it put an abrupt end to a policy similarly aimed at social equalization:

"When the Thatcher government came into power, with the declared aim of deregulation, privatization and consolidation of competitiveness, it spelt a change in regional policy. [... It] was assumed that the spatial disparities would even themselves out by the free play of market forces. [...] On balance, the neoliberal change in labour-market, industrial and regional policy reinforced the spatial inequalities extant in Britain, forcing them in the direction of social, economic and political divergences. In this sense, post-Fordist state regulation of the neo-Taylorian kind is not only instrumental in polarizing and segmenting spaces, but also in producing social polarization within these spaces."[13]

As regards EU/EC level, regional-policy measures have been put in place since the seventies. Since the eighties this policy field has been undergoing further development, making more vigorous inclusion of the regions at policy level as well. At this level, regional policy, like that at nation-state level, was originally geared to equalization, but reforms at the end of the eighties foregrounded an orientation towards the development of "endogenous potential".[14]

EU regional policy may not follow neoliberal ideologies directly, as for example the assumption in the above quotation that spatial disparities would even themselves out as a result of the free play of market forces. On the contrary, the equalization aspect is an explicit objective of EU regional policy[15], and such assistance is concentrated on regions that are disadvantaged and undergoing sectoral repurposing. However, there is a rift here that needs to be acknowledged, and one which extends right into the individual policy fields. The neoliberalist element of EU regional policy lies in the legitimization model on which that equalization is based: the aim is to enhance the regions' competitiveness as part of integration into a deregulated European economic space, and hence their involvement in the logic of "post-Fordist regionalization". The cultural-policy aspects of regional policy are also informed by that consideration.


3. Culture in the competition region

There are two argumentational settings, in particular, via which the cultural field and constructions of 'culture' can be integrated into the logic of "post-Fordist regionalization" and instrumentalized for the competition region: in constructing "regional identity" for the constitution of "the region" as subject (and for the corresponding regional marketing, internally and externally) on the one hand, and on the other hand via the directly commercial aspects, seen as part of the overall economic mobilization of the region: "creative industries", culture tourism, job creation, location factor.

The catchphrase about exhausting the endogenous developmental potentials of a region - which derive, as it were, from its "inherent structures" - already embodies the appurtenant construction of identity. The defining of a limit, the separating of interior/exterior and homogenization of the social/societal/economic space form a point of departure for the regional project that needs to be provided. The important thing here is the project's function; the prerequisites and specific terms of reference may vary - constituting an identity for a newly created administrative/political/economic region, modifying an existing identity to new competition conditions (from the region whose identity "already always" was characterized by hinterland farmers to the "coastal region", because tourism is developing much greater economic potential in the meantime) or recourse to/remodelling of components of historical identity constructs.

In a variety of respects, the identity construct means exclusion:

"All identity processes relating to spaces suppose not only outer limits, thus determining who is inside and who outside; they also suppose a certain homogeneity of the convictions and behavioural patterns in and for the space. The inner stranger is thus generated, who is in the space but not part of it. [...] In order to stabilize the inner and outer delimitations, spatial identity tends towards alienation. It is no longer felt to be a communicative process, but an independent form of being, superior to man. [...] Spatial identities heighten this process, since the limits appear to be materially conditioned."[16]

In this context Detlev Ipsen also refers to the fact that this applies to all spatial levels - European, national, regional, local. While this, he claims, has led to extensive critical examination in conjunction with nationalism, it is practically non-existent, however, in terms of regional and local levels.[17] "Regional awareness", moreover, not only displays a structure analogous to nationalism, in parts of Europe - at least - it has also come about historically as an imitation and at the same time a functional supplementation of it.[18]

It is also at nation-state level, where the figure of thought became hegemonial, that the function of culture should be viewed primarily as part of territorial identity construction. Here again, at regional level, it will be found in the form of a copy on the one hand, and at the same time as forms of functional supplementation resulting partly from the changing region/nation relations (from the greater involvement of pre- and/or antimodern artistic forms to the different attitude towards creative economy).

While "regional awareness" and the construction of regional-level territorial identities represent, rather, imitations and supplementations of the national level, regional policy in Europe has a certain vanguard role when it comes to directly instrumentalizing the cultural sphere for economic purposes. Not that instrumentalization of the cultural sphere for tourism or the hype of the creative industries at regional level would have arisen (analysis and argumentation are expanded by region-specific approaches); the thing that is new, though, is the direct political implementation of these principles in regional policy and regional development.

Hence, for instance, the European Commission's 1996 communication on "Cohesion Policy and Culture"[19], which deals especially with the impact on employment, and then as now constitutes an important basis for arguing in favour of cultural funding in the sphere of EU regional policy[20]. "As culture is often treated in a manner isolated from other factors of development or image, it will be important to address culture as a more integral part of regional and local development strategies towards new employment." These strategies, addressed in the 'conclusion', are immediately constrained by arguments about competitiveness as compared with other regions, and hence planted in the logic of "post-Fordist regionalization":

"Cultural activities are most effective when they profit from the region's endogenous potential. Conversely, assistance to cultural products and industries contributes to the strengthening of regional endogenous potential. Culture related businesses generally depend to a large extent on local or regional supplier- and customer-networks and, therefore, are attached more closely to regions or locations than other forms of productive investment. Moreover, most cultural industries are relatively labour intensive and thus contribute significantly to employment. Cultural investment (cultural industries as well as cultural infrastructure including cultural heritage) improves the region's competitive situation against other rival locations and constitutes a particularly valuable investment in regional or local performance." (p. 10)[21]

On top of 'classical' cultural policy at regional level (through the agency of the regions themselves or the nation states), which had already assimilated neoliberal economic arguments many times over but continued to define its jurisdiction in basically more comprehensive terms, came a level of action relevant to cultural policy and based more or less exclusively on arguments of this kind. Amongst other things, therefore, this narrowing of perspectives translated into practice because the transition to a new style of policy was already complete here, the nature of the project appearing particularly relevant in this respect: although regional development projects are construed as being holistic - not merely as economic policy - the nature of the projects (as a temporally defined intervention until the region has "closed the gap" and is again 'competitive') nevertheless 'relieves' them of more comprehensive responsibility.


II. Strategic elements

Regions and European public spheres

The cultural field opens up social functions, especially in the provision/pluralization of public spheres. In the eipcp paper Anticipating European Cultural Policies Therese Kaufmann and Gerald Raunig have highlighted that this cannot be about one European public sphere, but a multiplicity of public spheres:

"A singular European public sphere is not only impossible, but would also be in no way productive, as long as it is not conceived in the plural. What counts is not claiming or conceptualizing a single public sphere (whether it is one exclusively for privileged classes or for an all-encompassing meta-public), but rather permanently constituting plural public spheres corresponding to the many facets of the people living in Europe: a multiplicity of public spheres, not imagined statically, but rather as the becomings of articulatory and emancipatory practices." (p. 30)[22]

This multiplicity of public spheres, as created and differentiated by the activities of cultural and media initiatives, provides the wherewithal for participation, by giving "people access to solid, serious and plural information and to small-scale decision making. Within a multitude of public spheres, they are able to actively express and exchange their needs." (pp.30/31)[23] Above all, it promotes "the positions and the participation of minorities against all forms of majoritarian homogenization". (p. 30)[24]

One of the dimensions by which public spheres are differentiated (topics, sociopolitical objectives, forms of communication etc.) is by being inscribed in a spatially characterized frame of reference. Space is attributed a differentiation function "both in the problem origination phase and in the choice of relevant solution, because it generates specific conditions for dealing with the problem through specific constellations of material, social, resourcing, topographical, regional-history etc. influences." [25]

Regional public spheres develop their own spatial structure. They are not "the public sphere of region X"; for one thing, because regional levels do not involve one public sphere, either, but a multiplicity of public spheres; and for another, because the region is not predetermined as a rigid entity; public spheres also unfold their own space.

A specific quality of regional and local public spheres is their spatial proximity. In this context, it is precisely the cultural field that has evolved a multiplicity of communication and participation options, e.g. in local cultural initiatives and facilities, media projects etc. Viewed in terms of European public spheres, it is essential to acknowledge this as a specific characteristic, but not to absolutize it, as sometimes happens at political-institutional level, because aspects such as direct communication and participation would then be delegated via the absolute pegging of spatial proximity, as it were, to the regional level. Participation, however, is a constitutive element of every public sphere, as much in the local-spatial context as in the mailing list.


Local knowledge

Criticizing instrumentalization of the cultural field for its construction of regional identities does not mean that the relevant regional settings, the regional history, the forms of "regional awareness" and so on are being ignored as a topic or glossed over.

On the contrary: artistic processes, and regional culture and  media initiative projects are examining identity constructs and submitting "regional history" to new readings. They are lending visibility to the exclusions on which homogenized social and societal space is based, chipping away at the "erratic blocks" of standardized "convictions and behavioural patterns in and for space"[26].

Thus evolves a critical materialism of on-the-spot knowledge, which blows open processes that have congealed into 'identities' and 'systems' - not just in terms of the regional context but precisely also as a different local perception vis-à-vis abstractions with a general claim to validity - whose potential for radical fresh interpretations is hinted at in movements such as "excursionism"[27] in the early Soviet Union.

The concrete local repercussions of transnational processes are critically reflected in culture projects. Whether it be the changes in production geography outlined above or - mentioned here as an exemplar: the experiences in border regions, e.g. at the newly formed outer borders of the EU, of all places, where regional intercourse is interrupted by the regime of the border. Culture projects pick up these experiences; they create, as it were, out of the space, yet also go beyond it, opening new spaces through mobility and networking. What condenses down in these new spaces is a critical perception of the microphysics of transnational processes - of the European Union's enlargement project, of the globalization of economic cross-linkages, and so on.


Non-additive[28] European networking

Developments at regional level are an upshot of transnational processes. The competitive environments in which the regions find themselves are related to global or at least EU scales. This context is reflected even in methods that aim to constitute regions as identitary constructs:

"What is striking about local strategies at the present is just how unlocal they are. Workforce training, the erosion of social protection, the construction of science and business parks, the vigorous marketing of place and the ritual incantation of the virtues of international competitiveness and public-private partnership seem now to have become almost universal features of so-called 'local' strategies. In this sense, the local really has gone global. The explanation for the staggering lack of originality in local strategies does not lie in these localities themselves, with some shortfall in wit and imagination on the part of local actors. Rather, it is a reflection of the global context within which these strategies are being formulated." [29]

The 'local/regional' and 'global' are not merely juxtaposed in contrast here; the processes of (re-) territorialization and deterritorialization are more subtle, made up of smaller parts. In his essay Territoriale Ungleichheiten in der erweiterten EU ["Territorial Inequalities in the Enlarged EU"] Martin Heidenreich sees the European Union facing a similar task to that performed by the nation states, i.e. the "deterritorialization of regional cleavages, interests, ideologies and identities", partly as a result of the "transformation of regional inequalities into class and stratum-specific or individual inequalities":

"Firstly, 'the relative weight of class divisions in comparison with territorial-cultural divisions [was] amplified' by in-trade or nationwide collective-agreement relations between unions and employers' associations (Peter Flora). In lieu of regional conflicts with protected identities, industrialization saw the development of collective clashes between unions and employees. These interpreted (also territorially) different life situations and divisions of resources as distribution conflicts between different classes and strata, breaking them down into suitably painstaking detail. [...] Secondly, the development of social-state security systems opposed any territorial interpretation of socioeconomic differentiations, since all citizens are assured social-state benefits, irrespective of their place of domicile. Thirdly, national education systems also favour a non-territorial interpretation of socioeconomic heterogeneity, since the inequalities reproduced by the educational system are understood as either individual or stratum-specific inequalities." [30]

The fact that problem solutions and further developments, viewed in isolation, are less able than ever to be effected "in the region itself", but require transnational networking, would seem to be beyond dispute. More differentiated is the question of the nature of such networking. Processes of remodelling territorial into non-territorial conflicts (and the converse, potentially), as Heidenreich describes them here in plastic terms, are not reflectable in networking and exchange projects that adhere solely to spatial logics and are structured horizontally, in other words in keeping with the region a - region b - region c model.

Less standardizing forms, as have arisen e.g. in European cultural networks, appear to be better suited as a point of departure: networking of heterogeneous players along particular artistic/thematic/political lines of focus, in which discourses, information, solution models and critiques are able to circulate at an angle to the territorial levels. The people networking here, and their organizations, personify a multiplicity of spatial working horizons: regional cultural initiatives, European festivals, exchange projects with the Arab world, Internet platforms and national artists' associations etc. emerging from the heterogeneity of these horizons can form appropriately constellated cooperations for every concrete individual request.


Cultural policy and regional governance

With the role of the state having changed, new styles of policy have also evolved in post-Fordism, which are often described as the transition from government to governance, or else as the transition to controlling political processes through policy networks. What is being referred to, then, is the involvement on the one hand of an extended circle of participants: commercial or industrial federations, stakeholder representation groups, NGOs etc. are also involved in the forging and implementation of policies. Underlying the gloss-over formula of a "transition from the paternalistic to the empowering state", however, is a tangible climb-down from political accountability.

That is significant for the regional levels in several respects: the decentralization of political decision-making processes also includes spatialization (involvement of e.g. regional 'actors') while at the same time the regional levels, being a relatively new phenomenon in the political-institutional spectrum, are changeable[31] and hence more 'open' to new policy styles.

The political-institutional prerequisites involved differ greatly in individual cases. This applies, on the one hand, to the structures in the different European states between centralism and federalism, i.e. the question of whether regional levels are configured as political levels or merely as administrative or statistical entities[32]. The regional mobilizations, on the other hand, relate just to territories, which are only partly co-extensive with the political-administrative ones. It is only partly to do, then, with the constituent state of a federal state, for instance; often, however, new and smaller entities emerge: a territory around a city joins up to form a metropolitan region; regions emerge in the context of assistance and regional development programmes; economic regions become institutionalized in order to develop a location policy of their own etc.

Differentiated according to these institutional facts, above all, the policy styles feed through with greater or lesser speed and thoroughness. The regional 'mobilizations' also include cultural policy components, the logic often being that these policies are part of a temporally limited regional project and the limitation to identity-constituting and/or economic functions of culture forms a prerequisite that is, as it were, non-negotiable, subject to which implementation processes then take place in which cultural operators are involved.

In order to enable the cultural sphere to fulfil the social/democracy-policy functions mentioned, such as the pluralization of public spheres, cultural operators must have the opportunity to develop their work beyond instrumentalization logics of that kind, as well as being able to count on more stable promotion and funding partners above and beyond funding within the framework of policy projects.

Cultural policy measures at regional, national and also EU level can contribute to this: on the one hand by gearing themselves to the objective of creating and/or preserving the most comprehensive and 'complete' cultural policies possible at regional levels, and by preventing the cultural policy elements of regional development projects in particular regions or at particular regional levels from constituting the only or the formative kind of cultural policy; and on the other hand by further developing the content and substance of the cultural policy components in national and European regional development policies in order to strengthen those elements that refer past the instrumentalization logics (e.g. the promotion of transnational cooperation), and then in different forms at the various levels involved in implementation (e.g. in the concrete programme planning documents as well as when formulating the objectives of the structural funds).


Territoriality, migration, precariousness

The form of transversal cooperation in which many art projects and culture initiatives realize collaboration offer great potential for productively tying in various sociopolitical aspects and linkages. What they also have, then, is the potential to link territoriality with other sociopolitical aspects that refer beyond, or else develop particular aspects of territoriality intensively, in a form that not only illustrates and reflects these links but actively processes them in social and political reality.

An important correlation in this respect is migration. Even when, as a primary exclusion mechanism for transnational migrants, citizenship relates to nation-state rather than regional levels, the mechanisms at this level persist - through the regional tendencies to homogenize the social space, by exploiting 'illegal' migrants as cheap labour in the regional economy etc. The construction of migrant public spheres as part of migrants self-organizing - for which (and for whose networking in the most varied directions) cultural and media initiatives are of great importance, is an essential prerequisite for the sustainable dismantling of these racist mechanisms.

The link with other aspects of post-Fordism should be less patent than that of territoriality and migration. Here points of departure are made up, in particular, of the changes in working conditions - flexibilization, precariousness, informalization, intensified capitalization of affective work etc.

Here the artists and cultural operators are allotted what, to a certain extent, is an involuntary avant-garde role - the cultural sphere as a laboratory of precarious working correlations[33]. Reflection correlations and resistant practices have arisen here, too, however - from the well-known strikes in France in conjunction with the so-called "intermittents"[34] to a whole battery of projects that put to the test experimental changes in the (inherent) working correlations found.

The correlations between regionality and precariousness are tangible, for instance, from the example of the North Italian economic region. These form one of the most widely discussed examples of economic regions characterized by networks from small and medium-size enterprises to have arisen out of the 'deregulation' of Fordist large-scale enterprises. However, they are also the most well-known example of the origin of precarious working correlations from processes of that kind.[35]

Even more directly perceptible is the link between space and precarious conditions in practices like that of the Madrid research/activism initiative Precarias a la deriva. In mid-2002 a group of women had responded to the fact that their precarious jobs played no part whatsoever in the Spanish general strike - neither the legal provisions nor the trade-unions could be bothered. They resolved "to spend the day of the strike together, to proceed through the city together, to transform the classic picket chain into a picket survey and speak to women about their work and their life"[36]. In the months to follow, similar expeditions took place almost weekly:

"We chose a method that led us along different paths through the urban circuits of feminized precarious work, showing one another our everyday surroundings on a reciprocal basis, talking in the first person, swapping experiences and reflecting collectively. These derivas through the city are opposed to the segregation of work and life, production and reproduction, public and private, thus portraying the spatial-temporal continuum of our existences, the double (or multiple) presences." [37]

III. Proposals

Cultural policy at regional levels is a complex field of action and forms an important component in terms of pluralizing European public spheres. The present position paper has attempted to formulate proposals for a regional cultural policy in a European context that goes beyond instrumentalizing culture for identity constructs and creative industries:

-          support the pluralization of regional public spheres as part of the concept of a multiplicity of European public spheres

-          support the transnational networking of projects that intervene critically in the regional sociopolitical context

-          transcend the model of a primarily 'bilateral' or 'multilateral' exchange between individual regions to help promote participation by regional cultural initiatives in European networks

-          create/preserve cultural policies that are as extensive and 'complete' as possible at the various regional levels so as not to reduce cultural policy to the logic of instrumentalizing development projects

-          further develop the substance of the cultural-policy elements of regional development programmes at regional, national and EU level, reinforcing and expanding those approaches to assistance that support democracy-political functions and transnational exchange

-          support migrant projects at regional levels and their interlinkage

-          provide special support for projects that lend visibility to the transnational aspects of regional processes

-          continue developing regional cultural policy in the context of cultural policies at other levels - local, national and European.


Translated by Tim Davies


Selected references

Ash Amin (ed.), Post-Fordism: a reader, Blackwell 1994

Franco Berardi Bifo, "What is the Meaning of Autonomy Today?" http://republicart.net/disc/realpublicspaces/
(EIPCP multilingual webjournal)

Neil Brenner, Bob Jessop, Martin Jones, Gordon Macleod (ed.), State/Space: a reader, Blackwell 2003

Gerhard Brunn: "Regionalismus in Europa", in: Nitschke (Hg.), Die Europäische Union der Regionen, leske+budrich 1999, p. 19-38

Commission of the European Communities, "Cohesion Policy and Culture," Brussels 1996, com 96 (512) http://europa.eu.int/comm/regional_policy/sources/

Commission of the European Communities, Proposals for the new structural funds regulations for the period 2007-2013 http://europa.eu.int/comm/regional_policy/sources/

Cultural Policy Collective, Beyond Social Inclusion. Towards Cultural Democracy, Scotland 2004, http://www.culturaldemocracy.net

Culture and Regions, study commissioned by the Region Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, for the "International Days, Culture and Regions of Europe", 27th-30th October 2004

European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies (eipcp), Post Culture 2000, Vienna 2003 http://www.eipcp.net/policies/text/

David Harvey, Spaces of Capital. Towards a Critical Geography, Routledge 2001

Susanne Heeg, "Endogene Potentiale oder footlose capitalism? Einige Anmerkungen zur sozialen Regulation des Raums", in: Michael Bruch, Hans-Peter Krebs (Hg.), Unternehmen Globus, Westfälisches Dampfboot 1996, p. 199-223

Martin Heidenreich, "Regional Inequalities in the Enlarged Europe" http://www.idhe.ens-cachan.fr/Eurocap/

Serena Junker, "Regionalisierung als Antwort auf Steuerungs- und Entwicklungsprobleme moderner Gesellschaften?", in: Sabine Feiner, Karl G. Kick, Stefan Krauß (Hg.), Raumdeutungen: ein interdisziplinärer Blick auf das Phänomen Raum, Hamburg: Lit 2001, p. 151-193

Therese Kaufmann, Gerald Raunig, Anticipating European Cultural Policies / Europäische Kulturpolitiken vorausdenken, Wien 2003, http://www.eipcp.net/policies/index.html

Michael Keating, The New Regionalism in Western Europe, Cheltenham, Northhampton: Edward Elgar Publishing 1998

Dragan Klaic, "The Emerging European Public Spheres", in: European Cultural Foundation (Ed.), "Sharing Cultures: a Contribution to Cultural Policies for Europe", conference, 11-13 july 2004, p. 63/64

Dieter Läpple, "Essay über den Raum", in: Hartmut Häussermann (Hg.), Stadt und Raum: soziologische Analysen, Pfaffenweiler: Centaurus Verlag 21991, p. 157-207, http://www.tu-harburg.de/stadtplanung/

Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, Blackwell 1991

Oliver Marchart: "Für eine radikal-demokratische Kulturpolitik/Politikkultur. Warum und wie Kultur neu legitimiert werden muss", in: Gerald Raunig (Hg.): Klimawechsel. Für eine neue Politik kultureller Differenz, Wien 1999, p. 8-20

Pyrrhus Mercouris, "Structural Funds, Enlargement and the Cultural Sector", Brussels 2002, http://www.efah.org/en/policy_development/

Chantal Mouffe, "Exodus oder Stellungskrieg? Zum Verhältnis von Bewegung und Institution", in: kulturrisse 01/04 http://igkultur.at/igkultur/kulturrisse/1076864118/

Stefan Nowotny: "Ethnos or Demos? Ideological Implications Within the Discourse on 'European Culture' ", http://www.eipcp.net/diskurs/d01/text/sn02.html

Precarias a la deriva, "Adrift Through the Circuits of Feminized Precarious Work" http://republicart.net/disc/precariat/precarias01_en.pdf

Gerald Raunig (hg.): Klimawechsel. Für eine neue Politik kultureller Differenz, Wien 1999

Vanessa Redak, "Endogene Entwicklungspotentiale? Lokale Handlungsspielräume im Postfordismus" http://www.beigewum.at/redak.htm

Undine Ruge, Die Erfindung des 'Europa der Regionen'. Kritische Ideengeschichte eines konservativen Konzepts, Frankfurt am Main: Campus 2003

Karl Schlögel, Im Raume lesen wir die Zeit. Über Zivilisationsgeschichte und Geopolitik, München, Wien: Hanser 2003

[1] http://www.are-regions-europe.org/index.html

[2] http://www.cor.eu.int/ The Maastricht Treaty laid down five policy fields (elaborated in the Amsterdam Treaty) where the Commission and the Council must obtain the Committee of the Regions' opinion in the case of legislative proposals. This also includes the fields of culture and education - cf. also the corresponding spot in the article on culture (cig 86/04, provisional consolidated version of the draft treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, Article III-181 (ex Article 151 TEC). http://ue.eu.int/igcpdf/en/04/cg00/cg00086.en04.pdf

[3] cf. Martin Heidenreich, Territoriale Ungleichheiten in der erweiterten EU ["Territorial Inequalities in the Enlarged EU"], in: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, vol. 55, no. 1, 2003, pp. 31–58; http://www.uni-bamberg.de/sowi/

[4] Dieter Läpple, Essay über den Raum ["Essay on Space"], in: Hartmut Häussermann (ed.), Stadt und Raum: soziologische Analysen ["City and Space: Sociological Analyses"], Pfaffenweiler: Centaurus Verlag, 1991, pp. 157-207, here p. 189; http://www.tu-harburg.de/stadtplanung/html/ab/ab_106/

[5] Hence, for example, the location-theory/spatial and regional-science rudiment of geography, which has arisen from criticism of the landscape-geographical aspect (cf. Serena Junker, Regionalisierung als Antwort auf Steuerungs- und Entwicklungsprobleme moderner Gesellschaften? ["Regionalization as the Answer to Control and Development Problems in Modern Societies?"], in: Sabine Feiner, Karl G. Kick, Stefan Krauß (eds.), Raumdeutungen: ein interdisziplinärer Blick auf das Phänomen Raum ["Spatial Interpretations: an Interdisciplinary Look at the Phenomenon of Space"], Hamburg: lit. 2001, pp. 151-193, here p. 154). Läpple (loc.cit.) elaborates his social-science concept of a 'matrix' space on the basis of the relational space model (pp. 194-201), illustrating the constraints of the mathematical model of "abstract spaces" used by e.g. François Perroux as an alternative to the 'container' space (p. 191 ff.).

[6] Gerhard Brunn: Regionalismus in Europa ["Regionalism in Europe"], in: Nitschke (ed.), Die Europäische Union der Regionen ["The European Union of the Regions"], Leske & Budrich, 1999, pp. 19-38, here p. 19.

[7] Cf. Michael Keating, "The Invention of Regions: Political Restructuring and Territorial Government in Western Europe", in: Neil Brenner, Bob Jessop, Martin Jones, Gordon Macleod (eds.), State/Space. A Reader, Blackwell Publishing, 2003, pp. 256-277, here pp. 258/259, 263.

[8] Cf. Junker (loc.cit.), p. 176.

[9] Vanessa Redak, Endogene Entwicklungspotentiale? Lokale Handlungsspielräume im Postfordismus ["Endogenous Developmental Potential? Local Scope for Action in Post-Fordism"]. http://www.beigewum.at/redak.htm

[10] Restructuring with tendencies to regionalization, but also to deregionalization, of course: "the development of these urban hierarchies [global cities, RM], however, which arises from the degree of centralized control over a geographically dispersed production system, concomitantly involves some 'deregionalization'. The ranking and economic potential of these cities are becoming less dependent on their centrally located functions for the surrounding region, but increasingly so on transregional command functions and the potential for centralizing capital flows and for the acquisition of values." (Junker, loc.cit., p. 172.)

[11] C. Hadjimichalis, quoted from Redak (loc.cit.).

[12] Susanne Heeg, Endogene Potentiale oder Footloose Capitalism? Einige Anmerkungen zur sozialen Regulation des Raums ["Endogenous Potential or Footloose Capitalism? A few observations on the social regulation of space"], in: Michael Bruch, Hans-Peter Krebs (eds.), Unternehmen Globus, Westfälisches Dampfboot, 1996, pp. 199-223, here p. 214.

[13] Heeg (loc.cit.), pp. 212/213.

[14] Cf. Redak, loc.cit.

[15] "In order to promote its overall harmonious development, the Union shall develop and pursue its action leading to the strengthening of its economic, social and territorial cohesion. In particular, the Union shall aim at reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions and the backwardness of the least favoured regions." (cig 86/04, provisional consolidated version of the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, Article III-116 (ex Article 158 TEC)). http://ue.eu.int/igcpdf/en/04/cg00/cg00086.en04.pdf

[16] Detlev Ipsen, Regionale Identität. Überlegungen zum politischen Charakter einer psychosozialen Raumkategorie ["Regional Identity. Deliberations on the Political Character of a Psychosocial Category of Space"], in: Rolf Lindner (ed.), Die Wiederkehr des Regionalen. Über neue Formen kultureller Identität ["The Return of the Regional. On new Forms of Cultural Identity"], Frankfurt am Main/New York: Campus, 1994, pp. 232-254, here pp. 250/251.

[17] Ipsen, loc.cit., p. 251.

[18] Rüdiger Gans, Detlef Briesen, Das Siegerland zwischen ländlicher Beschränkung und nationaler Entgrenzung: Enge und Weite als Elemente regionaler Identität ["Siegerland, between Rural Delimitation and National Debordering: Constraint and Breadth as Elements of Regional Identity"], in: Lindner, loc.cit., pp. 64-90.

[19] COM/1996/502, http://Europa.eu.int/comm/regional_policy/

[20] Cf. "Structural Funds, Enlargement and the Cultural Sector", a discussion paper written for EFAH by Pyrrhus Mercouris, 2002, http://www.efah.org/en/policy_development/

[21] COM/1996/502, loc.cit., p. 10.

[22] Therese Kaufmann & Gerald Raunig, Anticipating European Cultural Policies/Europäische Kulturpolitiken vorausdenken, Vienna, 2003, p. 74 http://www.eipcp.net/policies/index.html ; see also: Dragan Klaic, "The Emerging European Public Spheres", in: European Cultural Foundation (ed.), "Sharing Cultures: a Contribution to Cultural Policies for Europe", conference, 11-13 July 2004, pp. 63/64.

[23] Ibidem, p. 75.

[24] Ibidem.

[25] Junker, loc.cit., 168/169.

[26] Zipser, loc.cit.

[27] "Time and again there have been attempts to systematically log the potential for experience, knowledge and reflection summed up in the exploratory journey, to subjugate it to rules in order to refine it and, above all, to be able to pass it on - in education, child-rearing, schooling, science. [...] Both the early works of Riehl and the later ones of Hessel and Benjamin go to show that it has been a trend of the age to bring together the visual and its reflection. This becomes perfectly obvious when observing attempts undertaken in the early Soviet Union under the name of 'excursionism' ('ekskursionistika') to decipher the cultural topography of cities and landscapes. The point of doing so was to establish a new tradition of the conscious appropriation of the cultural world cleaned up by myths and legends, as visible in the iconography of the landscape, in constructed history and culture. Their beginnings point to the tempestuous development of a broad historical movement in a country churned up by revolution. It is telling that excursionism and the Russian regional and urban studies that carry it, embodied in figures like Nikolaj P. Anziferow and Iwan M. Grews, ranked among the first victims of Stalinist gleichschaltung* and were cruelly smashed long before the country came under the cloak of the Great Terror in 1937". (Karl Schlögel, Im Raume lesen wir die Zeit. Über Zivilisationsgeschichte und Geopolitik ["In Space we Read Time. On the History of Civilization and Geopolitics"], Munich, Vienna, Hanser, 2003, p. 265).

* Translator's note: "Gleichschaltung is an example from the early days of the Nazi dictatorship of this use of language to manipulate and confuse. It is a word rarely to be found in older German dictionaries. ‘Gleich' means equal, ‘Schaltung' means switch, as in an electrical switch; Gleichschaltung therefore means switching on to the same track or wavelength, or, to put it in one word, alignment or co-ordination. It became, in 1933, the word for the process by which all organisations and associations existing in society were nazified and some, such as the political parties and the trade unions, were simply suppressed. The word was meant to hide the fact that what was going on was in flagrant breach of all previous notions of freedom, civil rights and self-government. It was a way of glossing over the threat of terror and violence that compelled individuals and organisations to come to heel." (As explained by Dr Edward Feuchtwanger.)

[28] Cf. on this point in general the discussion of transversality and concatenation in the Mundial edition of the Republicart web journal: Hito Steyerl, "The Articulation of Protest" (http://republicart.net/disc/mundial/steyerl02_en.htm) and Gerald Raunig, "Here, There AND Anywhere" (http://republicart.net/disc/mundial/raunig05_en.htm).

[29] Jamie Peck, Adam Tickell, "Searching for a New Institutional Fix: the After-Fordist Crisis and the Global-local Disorder", in: Ash Amin (ed.) Post-Fordism. A Reader, Blackwell, 1994, pp. 280-315, here p. 281.

[30] Heidenreich, loc.cit., p. 37. In this context Heidenreich refers to the nation states having not only shifted the structure of conflicts but supposedly having actually lessened regional inequalities too. Peter Flora: Einführung und Interpretation, in: Stein Rokkan, Staat, Nation und Demokratie in Europa. Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp, 2000, pp. 14-119, here p. 118. English version: Peter Flora, Introduction and Interpretation, in: Stein Rokkan, State Formation, Nation-Building, and Mass Politics in Europe - The Theory of Stein Rokkan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

[31] Michael Keating, for instance, makes reference to this aspect in a different setting: as a result, the regions offer better scope for new social movements to find their feet. (Keating, loc.cit., p. 266.)

[32] Cf. "Culture and Regions", study commissioned by the Region Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, for the "International Days, Culture and Regions of Europe", 27th-30th October 2004

[33] Cf., for example, Andrea Ellmeier, Prekäre Arbeitsverhältnisse für Alle? ["Precarious Working Conditions for Everyone?"], in: Kulturrisse 01/03, http://igkultur.at/igkultur/kulturrisse/

[34] http://www.republicart.net/disc/precariat/

[35] Cf., for example: Franco Berardi Bifo, Was heißt Autonomie heute? Rekombinantes Kapital und das Kognitariat ["What is the Meaning of Autonomy Today? Recombinant Capital and the Cognitariat"] http://republicart.net/disc/realpublicspaces/berardi01_en.htm .

[36] Precarias a la deriva, "Adrift through the Circuits of Feminized Precarious Work", p.1. http://republicart.net/disc/precariat/precarias01_en.pdf .

[37] Ibidem, p. 1/2.

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