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Culture and conflict in the European Union

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This paper examines the role that culture, the information society, and media play in forming stable and productive communities. Through a theory of culture defined by conflict and play, it examines the history of Europe as a concept, issues of continental identity, and the impact/intent of European Union policy initiatives regarding culture and media. It suggests that although some EU policy approaches are well designed, there is a great deal of room for improvement in their conceptualisation and execution. By understanding culture and media to be intertwined but not identical, we can see how the arts and media can be used to create community not only in their distribution and consumption but also in the very fact of their creation. Moreover, by situating culture and media within contemporary socio-political frameworks, particularly the deregulatory atmosphere supported by transnational corporate interests and the construction of a commodified neoliberal citizen, the paper argues for a conceptualisation of culture that can exist within contemporary systems of capital while retaining the potential for oppositional and critical ontologies. It concludes with specific suggestions for EU policy and funding directives through analyses of two visual culture phenomena, the 2002 film L'Auberge Espanole and the 2005 Venice Biennale.

Keywords: art; conflict; culture; media; visual

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Illinois.

Publication date: November 5, 2007

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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