The cultural policy of canons and the role of intellectuals

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This article examines the appearance of three canons in Denmark in 2006 to 2008 as an example of cultural policy: a canon on culture, a canon on history and a canon on democracy. Using a concept of symbolic power and symbolic boundary work related to political power, the political arguments for the canons and the public debate about the canons are investigated. First, it is shown that the political arguments produce an image of cultural ‘roots’ and native Danes versus non-native Danes, promoting a national and integrationistic figure of thought that mobilises symbolic resources of descent and kinship in the management of the population as a resource. Second, and most importantly, the article focuses on how intellectuals partaking in the public debate about the canons both enforce and refute the political integrationist arguments and how the arguments are often stated with ambiguity. Within this background, the article seeks to understand the symbolic boundary work of the Danish state and the categories, metaphors and idealisations it uses to demarcate the Danish population. Not least, the article seeks to understand the role intellectuals play in this context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordisk Kulturpolitisk Tidskrift
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)48-72
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018

ID: 183186123