Bildning as a Central Concept in the Cultural Policy of the Swedish Government : From Arthur Engberg to Alice Bah Kuhnke
Harding, T. (2015). Bildning as a Central Concept in the Cultural Policy of the Swedish Government : From Arthur Engberg to Alice Bah Kuhnke. Nordisk Kulturpolitisk Tidskrift, 18(2), 161-181. https://www.idunn.no/nkt/2015/02/bildning_as_a_central_concept_in_the_cultural_policy_of_the
Published inNordisk Kulturpolitisk Tidskrift
© Centrum för kulturpolitisk forskning, 2015. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons license.
This article explores bildning as a central concept in the development of the explicit cultural policy of the Swedish government. It takes its point of departure in how the concept of bildning was interpreted by Arthur Engberg, the minister responsible for cultural policy in the Social Democrat governments 1932–1939. In his interpretation bildning was liked both to upholding the high arts and the national culture and to the idea of re-invigorating these through cultural policy and education. The article continues by looking at the role and the interpretations of this concept in the later government reports and government bills aiming to cover the entirety of Swedish cultural policy, i.e. the government bills of 1974, 1996 and 2009, and the preceding reports. I suggest that the concept of bildning – and specifically Engberg’s interpretation of this concept – contributed to shaping the specific form taken by explicit cultural policy in Sweden under Engberg’s leadership, and that this approach has influenced later Swedish cultural policies, including the cultural policy bill of 1974. In more recent decades, more pluralistic approaches to cultural policy and bildning appear to have started to replace this path dependency in cultural policy, but the focus on established cultural institutions still remains. The reasoning in this article is based on the concept of path dependency, in the sense that historical decisions are considered to limit possible decisions later in history, thus steering history on a path, which may or may not be in line with the intentions of the original decision-makers. ...
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