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The Strength of Culture for Development

Why Culture Matters in International Cooperation


Pascaline Gaborit

On the global scale, the challenges surrounding development are massive and complex, as inequalities in living conditions between the richest and poorest countries become greater. Development is a global challenge on a par with the financial crisis and environmental concerns. The participation of local communities and towns in development programmes may result from a desire for influence at an international level, rather than the idea that they can bring some measure of stability, like the large NGOs.
In this context, culture remains an omnipresent factor. Indeed, culture takes on a multifaceted front for it is not solely limited to the organisation of cultural activities or the protection of heritage, but also about the values, significance, and everyday actions of human communities. It contributes to the well-being of local populations. Using culture as a transversal tool to solve the development issues means tackling those issues from a different angle: bringing solutions to some multicultural questions that exist in rich countries.
This book brings together a selection of articles by researchers and experts in this area from a wide variety of backgrounds, disciplines and countries.
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Culture, Migrations, and Sustainable Development of Cities



Researcher, University of Ljubljana and Peace Institute Ljubljana

Nowadays there is a vast body of literature, both academic studies and public policy documents, discussing the importance of culture for the economic development of cities, regions, and countries. Economic approach in cultural policy studies began in the USA in the 1960s and later spread to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and gradually to west European countries. The pioneering work in the field of cultural economics was William Baumol’s study Performing Arts: The Economic Dilemma, published in 1966 (co-authored by William Bowen). In the 1970s, the Journal of Cultural Economics was founded, thereafter an international association that is still active and regularly prepares international conferences. Concurrently, studies about the economic aspect of culture have become something of a vogue, especially in the 1980s and in the last decade.1 This trend can be explained by taking into account the economic and political situation in the USA and West Europe then and now. In time of economic crisis, the requirements imposed upon cultural workers and civil servants in the field of culture are so dramatic that they call for a serious assessment of the situation and careful planning of a strategy that should produce convincing arguments defending components of the welfare state (including culture).

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