Audience perspectives on the European dimension in Aarhus 2017 events: impacts of EU cultural policy

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The EU’s cultural policy of creating a recognisable, common European identity is exemplified by the EU’s cultural programme, European Capitals of Culture (ECOCs), whose official purpose is to highlight similarities and differences across European cultures to generate a greater sense of European identity among the citizens of Europe. To date, there has been little qualitative investigation of how ECOC attenders perceive the representation of European culture in the events and what they think about using ECOC events to promote Europeanisation. In this article, I use the methodology of intercept interviews at four Aarhus 2017 events to explore these two aspects. Findings indicate that the inclusion of European culture in Aarhus 2017 events often went unnoticed by the event attenders, and there was uncertainty about what European culture might actually comprise. Instead of perceiving ECOC events as promoting Europe, event attenders tended to interpret Aarhus 2017 events within a local, national or international framework, with ECOC events perceived as promoting tolerance and intercultural understanding. The findings are discussed in relation to the value of ECOC as a political-cultural initiative for generating European citizens’ identification with the EU.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Cultural Policy
Vol/bind 26
Sider (fra-til)150-165
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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