The cultural policy of canons and the role of intellectuals
- Side: 48-72
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.18261/ISSN2000-8325-2018-01-04
- Publisert på Idunn: 2018-06-18
- Publisert: 2018-06-18
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.
A canon on Danishness is first and foremost an educational project on the history and culture that have shaped our society. It should generate debate and awareness of our values […] It is about identifying the ‘spiritual strata’ our culture is based upon in order to put into words and concepts the values that we must know to stand firm in our time of globalisation and migration.1All quotes from Danish documents are translated to English by the authors. (Haarder 2016)
In 2016, the Danish minister of culture and church announced his plans for a canon on Danishness, the so-called ‘Danmarkskanon’ (Haarder 2016). The public debate about canons had been subdued for a while, but returned at this time, as it tends to do quite frequently. This circumstance makes our research on the past decade’s canons on culture, history and democracy pertinent and topical.2This article is the second article written in connection to a sub-project of the project titled Fremtidens rationale mellem planer og kanoner – kulturhistoriske antagelser om individ og fremtid i dansk skolepædagogik 1945–2008. The project was funded by The Independent Research Council in Denmark (Section of Humanities) 2008–2011. The first article was a short article in Danish focusing on the political power and its arguments for the canons as well as on the committee members’ arguments (Øland 2012). This article uses the same data but structures it in a different and more stringent way methodically, by reference to symbolic boundary making (Lamont 1992), and by making an analysis of the political arguments for the canons as a backdrop to a detailed analysis of the intellectuals’ viewpoints in the public debate. This analysis of the intellectuals’ different views is the pivotal analysis of this article and was only partly mentioned on half a page in the first article. Also, this article’s analyses are aligned to research on symbolic resources and nationalism mobilised in a time of alleged crises, most notably Ball (2013), Gullestad (2006), Lentin (2014) and Muel-Dreyfus (2001), and classical theories of nation and nationalism, which were not used in the first article.
During the 2000s, the Danish state claimed to have problems integrating ‘growing numbers’ of immigrants. Professional pedagogical interventions were stressed as being necessary for ‘bilingual’ children3In Denmark, ’bilingual’ is the only legal term with which to record ‘immigrant’ pupils – it is not legal to do so according to ‘race’, ‘ethnicity’ or ‘religion’. linguistically, socially and culturally, as well as for their parents’ ability to learn the Danish society’s ways of life (Ministry of Refugees, Immigrants and Integration 2003, Ministry of Social Affairs & Ministry of Education 2003). The immigrant should not (continue to) be a receiver of social security benefits, and the immigrant should be ‘activated’ and ‘integrated’ into the existing way of life. Simultaneously, the cultural norms and traditions of the immigrants were accounted for as being different and deviant from the Danish ones, e.g. it was stated that ‘they’ – as opposed to Danes, and thus implicitly separating native Danes and non-native Danes – practised authoritarian rearing of children, which may lead to passivity or forced and arranged marriages (Ministry of Refugees, Immigrants and Integration 2003:15). In general, the government mobilised through cultural policy and wished to have an increased discussion in society about values and concepts of morality, liberty, equality and child-rearing. References to ‘our values’, such as freedom of mind and of speech, democracy as more than majority rule, human rights, etc., were emphasised, and they were stressed as being threatened by the transformed composition of the population. Strategies should, therefore, aim to secure social cohesion and an open democracy. The government stated that a strong national identity had served the country well so far and it feared that increasing cultural heterogeneity would undermine the country’s wellbeing and that Denmark’s global competitiveness could suffer accordingly, thus portraying Denmark as a victim of globalisation (Ministry of the State of Denmark et al. 2006). With the publication of the 2006–2008 canons, ‘core values’ and ‘cultural battle’ were accentuated, especially in regards to schooling. The canons that were published by the Danish state authorities included canons on Danish Culture (January 2006), Danish History (June 2006) and Danish Democracy (March 2008).
The scope and organisation of the article
The scope of this article is to depict which symbolic images were framed and mobilised in the launch of the canons and how this was received in the debate about the canons. The article is guided by two research questions. The first question is: what were the ruling power’s political arguments for the three canons of 2006–2008? The second question is: what were the intellectual debaters’ points of view on the canons as the canons emerged and were discussed 2000–2010? The answer to these questions makes it possible to understand what role intellectuals play in the continuing encoding of canons as an example of cultural policy canonising what is valuable. Furthermore, it makes it possible to understand how the symbolic behaviour of the state is substantiated and legitimised in ambiguous ways by intellectuals who point out what is ‘necessary’, ‘meaningful’ and ‘valuable’ for society and its development. Thus, the article presents canons as examples of cultural policy in which policy is defined as a never-ending encoding process that is embedded in classifications of what is explicitly and implicitly ‘valuable’ (van Zanten 2005). Furthermore, cultural policy bears the mark of historical legacies and the possibility of political and national use of culture (Dubois 2015).4Cultural policy refer to the more specific area of public cultural policy such as the launch of canons, its content and how this content is constituted. We also use the term politics to refer to a broader political context, e.g. as it is used when we point to ‘a space of politics’ referring to our theoretical underpinning.
Other researchers have examined the canons, depicting the content of them and the course of events surrounding them or they have reflected on their possible impact (e.g. Grinder-Hansen 2008, Hass 2011, Jespersen 2010). This article’s analysis is different from these works. It has a narrow focus on the way in which the canons and the debate about them mark the symbolic boundaries of Denmark as a community. This focus is generated by a theoretical underpinning (elaborated below) and the way it is put to work empirically, and it is further developed and substantiated by drawing on and aligning analytically with research on the mobilisation of symbolic resources and nationalism (e.g. Anderson 2006, Ball 2013, Gullestad 2006, Lentin 2014, Muel-Dreyfus 2001, Sapiro 2003).5We are aware of, e.g. Jürgen Habermas’ notions on constitutional patriotism, but the scope of this article is to study the arguments and discussions surrounding the canons as part of a symbolic boundary work. Hence we are not aiming for a theoretical philosophical discussion about nationhood, citizenship and what should be the glue in a multicultural society.
The article is organised in the following way. First, the theoretical underpinning used to analyse the canons as cultural policy is described. Second, the method for data collection and data analysis is outlined. Third, the first analysis, i.e. of the ruling power’s political arguments for the canons 2006–2008, is carried out as a backdrop for the second analysis. Thus, fourth, the second and most detailed analysis, i.e. the analysis of intellectuals’ points of view within the debate about the canons, is laid bare. Finally, the article closes by suggesting how the intellectual can be understood as an ambiguous and contradictory cultural policy agent, assisting the state in conceptualising human difference as a cultural question in this case, but not inevitably.
Before we begin the analyses, the theoretical underpinnings, which are based on the French sociologists Pierre Bourdieu and Loïc Wacquant’s sociological notion of the state as a bureaucratic field, are laid bare. This notion refers to the state as a structure, i.e. a space of politics, institutions and agents struggling to define and distribute ‘the collective’ or ‘the universal’ using codified symbolic power that relates to socio-material relations of force (Bourdieu 1996, Wacquant 2008:84). In this article, the political arguments and the intellectuals’ viewpoints are analysed as related to symbolic power. Thus, even though it is individuals (politicians and intellectuals) and their arguments for or against canons that we analyse, it is their symbolic endeavours and the continuous encoding practices of cultural policy that is the focus of attention, not politicians and intellectuals per se.
Symbolic power appears as legitimate categorisations and moralisations, e.g. in professional work such as teaching history in school (Durkheim 1992), but also through intellectuals’ categorising power when they evaluate and interpret society’s values or development. The intellectual as a cultural producer can be understood as having this specific form of power, i.e. a symbolic power to make people notice and believe certain things and to call attention to confusing, indefinite and inarticulate experiences and make them explicit, objective and thus existent (Bourdieu 1992a). Hence, professionals and intellectuals – i.e. all those that create, recreate, distribute and apply culture and the symbolic world of man, including art, literature, history, pedagogy, religion and science – are in this article viewed as socially conditioned. While intellectuals, in general, are the dominant holders of cultural capital and symbolic power, they are also dominated by holders of political and economic power, i.e. in this case, the political power defining the canons. Intellectuals thus generally occupy a rather contradictory position. They are elites but subordinate elites with moral and cognitive ability due to the fact that they possess crucial professional knowledge and ideological capacity to legitimise or delegitimise the existing order (Karabel 1996:210). This complex analytical way of understanding the intellectual will help us comprehend the points of view of those intellectuals who participated in the debates about the canons.
In continuation of Durkheim and Bourdieu, this analysis draws on the Canadian-American sociologist Michèle Lamont’s understanding of symbolic boundaries in a variety of situations where evaluation and assessment occur (Lamont 1992, Lamont & Molnár 2002). This draws attention to symbolic classifications and their relationship with group structures, e.g. investigating professionals’ moral evaluation criteria (Lamont 1992), and the way in which they function as distinctions based on race, citizenship status and class in defining national communities. In the analyses to come, it will be identified which symbolic resources are at play in constructing, creating and maintaining symbolic boundaries and social differences (cf. Lamont & Molnár 2002:168). Symbolic resources may be conceptual distinctions, interpretative strategies, universal principles, cultural traditions, rituals, idealisations, metaphors, use of history or forms of knowledge.
Method for data collection and data analysis
The article’s data material consists of the canons, press releases and public debate about the canons from written sources. For the first analysis (of the ruling power’s political arguments 2006–2008), the canons, press releases from the Ministries about the canons and newspaper articles written by the Ministers or interviews with the Ministers are used. The analysis of this dataset is straightforward, i.e. sorting out the arguments and showing how the arguments for the three canons overlap and form symbolic images, thus activating symbolic resources.
To gain data for the second analysis (of the intellectuals’ viewpoints in the debate 2000–2010), we have used the search engine ‘infomedia’. The search was made regarding ‘canon on history’ (historiekanon), ‘canon on culture’ (kulturkanon) and ‘canon on democracy’ (demokratikanon). All searches were made as an ‘extended search’ from the period 2000 to 2010 in what is termed ‘Danish media and web sources’, which consist of 1271 sources at the time of the search (spring 2010), including all major Danish newspapers, daily papers, weekly newspapers, periodicals, and a range of other news media. The search was made on ‘all words’ in ‘the whole article’. Regarding the canon on history and the canon on democracy, the search was made on all types of articles, resulting in 412 and 807 articles, respectively. Regarding the canon on culture, the search on all types of articles resulted in 3847 articles. Therefore, the search concentrated on ‘debate articles’ (377) and ‘interview articles’ (129), in total 506 articles. The sources are both primary sources, e.g. debate articles written by the debater, and secondary sources, e.g. interview articles, where the debater is cited and referred to. These sources were chosen because it is the viewpoints and arguments that are communicated to the public domain that interest us, not the political intentions per se. In order to make sure that we refer to the viewpoints and arguments as accurately as possible, we have read through many primary and secondary sources and never relied on only secondary sources.
The search resulted in 1725 articles of different length, although most articles were rather short texts and so the amount of data might sound more impressive than it really is. Nevertheless, to make the amount of data accessible for data analysis, we first reduced the data by summarising it in terms of reading all articles by asking: what type of argument is represented here? If the arguments were repeated, which they often were, the article was not necessarily referred to in the full text, but it could be if it added yet another element to the type of argument or it could just be referred to briefly. In this way, a note archive amounting to 84 pages was completed, focusing on representing the diversity of all the viewpoints and the symbolic resources used to substantiate the types of view present in the material.
This method for data analysis was a way of applying the ideal-type method of data analysis (Eneroth 1984:149–154, Weber 2003:106). This method is in contrast to the grounded theory method of data analysis, which focuses on mapping the phenomenon’s qualities using concepts, categories and dimensions, grouping and re-grouping (coding and re-coding) data until the phenomenon is mapped. The ideal-type method of data analysis is not aimed at mapping but is instead designed to crystallise or construct a number of ideal-types that detect central aspects of different examples of the phenomenon, i.e. different aspects of the viewpoints on the canons. In total, the ideal-types must logically exclude one another and cover all data, which means that all data must be attributable to an ideal-type (Eneroth 1984:150). The ideal-type was originally the tool of German economist and sociologist Max Weber to make objective analyses of complex cultural and social contexts. Weber was interested in cultural life’s ‘individual’ characteristics, i.e. its inherent forms and figures. For that purpose, Weber developed the ideal-type, and defined the way it works as follows:
It is generated by accentuating one or a few viewpoints, and by combining a number of single phenomena appearing scattered and separate – sometimes to a greater extent, sometimes to a lesser extent (sometimes not at all) – which are attributable to one of the viewpoints and forms a consistent mental image. This mental image, as a conceptual form, is not to be found in the empirical world: it is a utopian idea (Weber 2003:106).
The method of ideal-types is thus a way of data analysis that crystallises what is typical and ideal in a logical sense, not in a normative or exemplary sense. The ideal-type constructs what Weber terms ‘value-ideas’ made of basic cultural and social sense-making processes. For us, this method seems timely given the scope and content of our analyses. The actual data analysis and the construction of six ideal-types of viewpoint proceeded slowly. In fact, the process of data analysis was already in operation when the note archive was made. Although not explicitly, it was in operation because the note archive focused on the types of argument and not, for example, on how many times an argument was present.
On the basis of the articles and the note archive, the six different viewpoints in the debate slowly crystallised. As will become apparent, a view to which symbolic resources might operate as drivers to distinguish the viewpoints from each other were of some analytical help when constructing the six viewpoints as discrete.
After the first analysis, we analyse the debate about the canons through the use of the ideal-type method of data analysis as described in this section.
First analysis: The ruling power’s political arguments for the 2006–2008 canons
In the following, we will identify the ruling power’s political arguments for the three canons and the symbolic resources used. This makes it possible to show that the political arguments for the three canons are intertwined and can be considered part of the same symbolic move and demarcation project.
The first canon published in the 2000s was the Canon on Culture in January 2006. It was comprised of 96 works of art selected by seven committees covering architecture, visual arts, design and handicrafts, film, literature, music and theatre plays (Ministry of Culture 2006a, 2006b). The arguments for the canon emerged two years earlier when the idea was launched in 2004. The Minister of Culture in office, Brian Mikkelsen, gained access to all the large newspapers through interviews and by writing articles and disseminated arguments, e.g.
We are not floating individuals irrespective of time and place. We belong to a place and we are placed in time and culture. With the canon on culture, I want to secure a mutual launchpad […] It will be sort of a present to the people […] I picture a visual book with exciting photos […] and with a historical chronology. (Eising 2004)6When referring to the newspaper articles, page numbers from the paper edition are not referred to because the articles are read in electronic form.
Furthermore, according to the minister, the canon showed that ‘everything is not automatically of equal value, which is a deliberate battle against cultural relativism of our time’ (Mikkelsen 2004a; cf. Mikkelsen 2004c). The main argument was thus the following: ‘The cultural canon can be a weapon in the battle against one of the greatest enemies of our times: lack of historical knowledge’ (Mikkelsen 2006a). However, the Minister of Culture also interpreted the debate, which he additionally termed the ‘cultural battle discussion’, as a debate about quality. The cultural battle discussion was launched by the Prime Minister, Anders Fog Rasmussen, who was in office from 2001. He expressed that the best way to change the development of society was through a change in attitudes, values and the mentality of the population, not through large-scale economic reforms, which he termed an ‘old idea of politics’ attached to historical materialism (Hardis & Mortensen 2003, 2008).
At the Conservative Party’s national conference in September 2005, the Minister of Culture stated that the cultural battle would now enter its second phase, the first – according to the Minister – being the phase where the ‘cultural radicals’ with their relativism were beaten. Regarding the second phase, he said:
In the middle of our country – our own country – segregated communities are developing where minorities are practising their norms of the Middle Ages and their undemocratic ways of thinking. We cannot and we shall not accept that, and this is where the new frontline of the cultural battle is. (Lenler 2005b)
He stressed that the canon contrasted years of ‘tyranny of political correctness’ and with the ‘multicultural ideology’ (Pihl 2005). After the canon was published, he repeated these connections between the cultural canon and ‘immigrants’ (Marstal 2006; Frederiksen 2006; Mikkelsen 2006b).
The second canon was the Canon on History, which was launched in June 2006 (Ministry of Education 2006a), and enacted in 2009 as part of a revision of the public school’s so-called common objectives (a Danish version of a national curriculum, called ‘Fælles Mål’). However, in 2005, it was suggested that pupils in the 4th and 5th form of school (pupils aged 10 to 12 years) should have 30 extra lessons in history per year, and knowledge of history and cultural heritage was thus formulated as crucial in a global world (Government 2005:16). This was passed as a bill in April 2006. The Minister of Education, Bertel Haarder, argued in several interviews that the new declaration of common objectives should include a canon on history (e.g. Blüdnikov & Kassebeer 2005), as well as canons on ‘knowledge of Christianity’ and ‘social studies’.7These canons were not included as material for this article because they were not intensely politically discussed but are part of the same move. He referred to his long-term objections to the fact that history teaching had turned into what he called social studies, referring back to the 1970s:
History is not social studies. It is cultural studies and a subject in which the pupils should acquire an overview and a sense of chronology in the development of history. For example, the history of Denmark is the narrative of the Danes’ united and common development. (Blüdnikov & Kassebeer 2005)
This focus on history as a subject that includes culture, cultural heritage and an internal chronology, which was constructed as being independent of the time point in which it was formulated, continued to be the focus until the canon was published and endorsed.
The Canon on Democracy was published in March 2008. The Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, wrote the foreword and emphasised that the values of liberty, constitutional rights and the right to property were questioned in Denmark and other countries, and therefore, they must be won, developed and defended for each new generation (Canon Committee 2008). A canon on democracy had been debated among several ministers since the launch of the canon on culture (e.g. Hornemann 2006, Kassebeer 2006, Lenler 2006b, Tang 2007). The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Per Stig Møller, argued that ‘democracy’ was under pressure: ‘The threats against democracy were noticeable during the Muhammed crisis,8This occurred in January and February 2006 and was caused by the responses to the caricature drawings of the Prophet Muhammed, published by the Danish newspaper Jyllandsposten at the end of 2005. This event is also often referred to as ‘the caricature crisis’ depending on political stance. and we see it on a daily basis in the Muslim world’ (Tang 2007). He argued that democracy may become banal and ‘we may risk losing it’ if ‘we’ don’t think about it consciously. The Minister of Education agreed and noted that every generation must reinvent democracy when facing threats. Earlier, the threat was Nazism, communism and Marxism; now it is ‘religious fanaticism’ and democracy depends on ‘the citizens’ love and headstrongness’, he stated (Tang 2007; Ministry of Education 2008). The Minister of Education, Bertel Haarder, stated that the canon on democracy was:
Meant as a tool to enlighten imams, immigrants and Danes about democracy and constitutional rights. Just as the state has campaigns against bullying, the state can direct campaigns against extremism. (Andersen, P.D., 2008)
In the introduction to the canon, the terms of reference were said to exhibit two meanings of democracy, i.e. as a political ideology and as a form of government. It interpreted democracy as a political ideology and not only a Danish phenomenon but also ‘a result of the Western civilisations’ long-term modernisation process’ (Canon Committee 2008). Overall, the content focused on liberty as ‘a natural thing’, on the individual’s constitutional rights and on ‘negative liberty’, i.e. the absence of constraints and state interference. Furthermore, the emphasis was put on the intentions, values and ideas, willpower and culture of the people as the core driving forces of society.
National and political integrationism and the myth of a natural order
The political arguments can now be interpreted in further detail. All three canons depict a vision of the individual as naturally placed in a territory, time and culture, i.e. in a national culture. The Danish national culture is first and foremost pictured as the natural order of things to return to in a time of crisis, which is comparable to Muel-Dreyfus’ (2001) identification of femininity as a politically constructed natural order to return to in a time of crisis (WWII in this case). The point is that visions of a natural order of things are mobilised to create a sense of cohesion and order to return to when danger and threat are detected. The political power’s symbolic boundary work uses a range of symbolic resources in this endeavour. It uses interpretative strategies, universalisation strategies and history to maintain the boundary and social difference between native Danes and non-native Danes, linking culture, descent and territory in processes of legitimate identification within the nation.
Culture is fenced inside a territory and a human distinction of natives with cultural roots inside this fencing versus non-natives occurs and is universalised. From this imagined natural order of things, a myth of natural difference and inequality springs, i.e. a native Dane is, by nature, culturally different from a non-native Dane. Furthermore, it is considered natural that fencing of this natural culture occurs within the nation-state’s territory. The canons put forth that the Danish culture develops chronologically and when immigrants settle in Denmark, this is the sensible frame of reference for immigrant individuals in the present. If they want to belong, they have to find a way to manage themselves and to fit into a chronology that is already there by using their willpower to connect to the Danish core values and, through these values, gain access to the rooted culture. Consequently, chronology is used as a symbolic resource to create a potential spatial difference and distance between groups of the population in the nation as a geographical space.
This way of thinking produces an image of the ‘eternal stranger’ or an ‘outsider within’ who should always try to connect to Danishness but will always be viewed as in need of more civilisation and integration for the Danish civic culture to be complete and authorised anew. At the same time, an ‘eternal inequality’ is noted – if you are not a native Dane, then it is most likely that you will be the object of integrationist interventions addressing culture and family life, stressing the socialising qualities of a 'good and proper' family and home. The family thus seems to be an instrument and a space for social rationality and pathology, and social problems are turned into problems of kinship and culture to correct the costly and unproductive citizens.
According to our theoretical reading and by focusing on the symbolic resources employed in the arguments, we can conclude that the political arguments draw on what could be termed an all-encompassing national and political integrationism, i.e. a perpetual effort to reorganise the social world for the fenced integrated whole to be restored in a way that corresponds to the confined nation and territory (cf. Larsen & Øland 2011). Integrationism is hence a perpetual urge to redefine and disseminate the idea of society and state as integrative and corresponding entities of homogeneity. The canons are thus enforcing a focus on the sameness of the population within the specific boundaries of Denmark and, in doing that, a link between territory and a generalised kinship is formed.
Placing the canons analytically in a state structure as we do, our analysis suggests that canons can be understood as a technology to reinvent and reintegrate the population. Our analysis, therefore, has much in common with what educational sociologist Stephen Ball noted in his study of education policy in Great Britain. Ball detects a modern reasoning that continuously promotes divisions between the normal and the abnormal in education policy, which brings supervising and correcting the abnormal into play due to fear of degeneracy and danger (Ball 2013:81–118). Through an analysis of how scientists have been and are part of the management of the population and the maintenance of social and racial divisions, Ball shows how both eugenicists and sociologists from the 1930s engaged in the management of the population as a resource that needs to be managed via biopower or the subtle discipline of welfare services and institutions. As we do here, Ball points out that the two modes of thought conflate and eugenic modes of thought remain involved in education policy.
In a Scandinavian context, our analysis also benefits from aligning with the insights of social anthropologist Marianne Gullestad (2006). Gullestad notes that self-explanatory neo-nationalist arguments in the 2000s, emanating from the 1980s and 1990s, mobilised symbolic resources that were already in circulation (Gullestad 2006:298–319). According to Gullestad, this mobilisation constitutes a key to understanding how new forms of nationalism are naturalised as self-evident. In particular, she notes the way family, kinship and local community are the grounding that renders it possible to imagine a national community and to rearticulate a political ethno-nationalism. As can be seen from the above interpretations, all these notions also apply to our analysis of the Danish canons. In her studies, Gullestad implicitly draws on some of the modernist theories of nationalism and nation of the 1980s, such as Ernest Gellner (1983) and his focus on nationalism as the maker of the nation and a cohesive entity via a compulsory education system. She also draws on the works of Benedict Anderson (1983) and his focus on the nation as an imagined community of collective conscience constructed out of memories and narratives about the nation. Anderson stresses that the nation thus becomes an experienced reality. More vivid in Gullestad’s studies is the influence of Anthony Smith’s ethno-symbolism (2001) emphasising cultural collectives and geographical place as starting points for nations. The ethnic group is considered the seed from which a nation can develop. This is indeed also a way of thinking embedded in the Danish political arguments for the canons. Smith’s point is that symbols function as historical and national markers, which also seems to apply to the political arguments for canons.
All of these classical theories of nationalism and the nation thus apply as an interpretative reservoir or backdrop for our analysis. However, since the canons emerged in a situation of increased globalisation, immigration and refugee arrivals after the 1980s, and statements about the nation experiencing crises and being threatened, the classical theories and their grand modern narratives are not sufficient. In such a situation, more specific analytics identifying integrationism and intensified interventions to make the immigrant and refugee a natural member of the (democratic) nation are needed on the one hand, and analytics identifying the accompanying construction of the ‘outsider within’ as a threat are needed on the other hand. Therefore, Muel-Dreyfus (2001), Ball (2003), Larsen and Øland (2011) and, later, also Lentin (2014) are included to assist interpretation.
To recapitulate our analysis of the political arguments for the three canons in the 2000s, we can state that the arguments draw on everyday experiences of belonging and deep-rooted historical themes and images. Themes such as integration and democracy thus function as elements in a multi-grounded web of symbolic resources, which sets the confined national scene of perpetual integration and the desire to purify and manage the population as a resource that is considered in danger of degeneracy.
The 2016 canon on Danishness seems to sharpen the symbolic strength of the ongoing canon project, making the canon explicitly about optimising Danishness and managing the population. We are thus able to suggest that canons are an ongoing national mobilisation project that is strategically activated at regular intervals.
Second analysis: Intellectuals’ symbolic power performed within the canon debate 2000–2010
In the following part of the article, viewpoints from the debate about the canon project of committee members, as well as debaters outside the committees, are analysed. The members of the canon committees,9The canon committee on culture, nominated by the Minister for Culture in office, was chaired by director of The Danish Language and Literature Society, Master of arts in Danish Language and Language Psychology, Jørn Lund. The canon committee on history, nominated by the Minister for Education in office, was headed by university professor and doctor in history, Knud J. V. Jespersen, who is an expert in Danish resistance during the German occupation 1940–45 and in Danish foreign policy 1648–1720. The canon committee on democracy, nominated by the Prime Minister in office who personally made the telephone calls to the canon committee members (Skadhede & Raahauge 2007) was also chaired by professor and doctor in history, Knud J. V. Jespersen. as well as the debaters in general, were primarily artists, writers, linguists, political philosophers, historians and professionals of what could be termed the ‘integration businesses’ at the school or municipality level. We define them all as intellectuals when they participate in the public debate about the canons.10It is beyond the scope of this article to include analyses of how the individuals we define as intellectuals understand themselves.
The analysis of the points of view of all these debaters crystallises into six views, some in favour of canons, some opposing them and some presenting an analytical distance. The six viewpoints are present in the data material to different extents and, therefore, the subsections are also of different length. The six viewpoints are distinguished as such because they involve different symbolic resources in their argumentation. The intellectuals’ role in the state’s symbolic boundary work is revealed as their viewpoints and their use of symbolic resources are related to the political arguments.
Concerned about national integration
This point of view is characterised by a concern for history teaching enhancing a national feeling, which is considered threatened. The view obviously resonates with Gellner’s classical notions about the accomplishment of cohesiveness through education, as mentioned earlier. In this context, the view opposes an orientation towards child-centeredness, e.g. as stated by educational researcher and member of the Liberal Party, Anders Holm Thomsen: ‘The subject-matter should be on top of the agenda. Otherwise one ends up with one-day wonders, where politically correct ‘Hassan’s’’ gain the attention’ (Jensen 2008). Pointing to ‘Hassan’s’’ getting the attention, which according to Thomsen is made possible due to the cultural relativism embedded in child-centred pedagogy, Thomsen refers to ethnic minority pupils and to teachers who, in Thomsen’s view, tend to be too compliant towards such pupils and their cultural background. Such a view is evident and much researched in other European countries in terms of statements of ‘the crisis of multiculturalism’, which was also part of the political argument for canons. This view seems to draw attention to the idea that the alleged problem with multiculturalism is: ‘not so much with multicultural policies, but with the very fact of multiculture, or with what to do when there is ‘too much diversity’’ (Lentin 2014:1272).
However, Thomsen denies what he calls ‘mass immigration’ as the reason for his views, and he claims that what he argues for is connected to the development of history teaching that took place up until the 1970s. Nevertheless, national values and national culture are promoted when facing what is voiced as too much diversity. Another debater, cultural researcher and conservative blogger Kasper Støvring, argues that: ‘If the liberal state is not based on a national culture, then it risks lacking popular legitimacy and worst-case scenario: it will disintegrate’ (Støvring 2005). Cultural cohesion and national loyalty of an informal and implicit character are considered the necessary means to secure the liberal culture. Those that do not possess this culture are thus implicitly excluded from this culture. One Member of Parliament (MP) for a small liberal party called New Alliance, Naser Khader,11In 2017, New Alliance is called Liberal Alliance, and Naser Khader, who was a cofounder of the party in 2007, is a member of the Conservative People's Party. wants the canons to be translated into Arabic so, for example, the imams are able to include and disseminate the message of democracy through the sermons, thus enhancing integration into ‘our Danish democracy’. Moreover, this politician finds it regrettable that the canon committee on democracy was reluctant to include the caricature drawings, which started the earlier-mentioned so-called Muhammed crisis, as a canon point (Khader 2008). These are all examples relating to straightforward integrationism in line with the political arguments for the canons.
This view also appears in an ambiguous way. On behalf of the committee on the history canon, the historian Grinder-Hansen stated that the canon was not meant to be a conservative-liberal legitimisation project (Andersen, N. T. 2008), and he thus rejected the canon’s ideological context, and a pure professional historical point of view was demarcated (Grinder-Hansen 2008:162). At the same time, he suggested that what he called ‘implicit assumptions’ were embedded in the implementation of the canons, i.e.:
... in today’s multiethnic and globalised Danish society, it is necessary to establish a common cultural platform for the citizens of the country to accomplish the necessary social cohesion in society, and this common cultural rearmament belongs naturally in the school. (Grinder-Hansen 2008:150)
In other words, symbolic resources such as the ideas of integrationism and ethno-nationalism are mobilised, clearly mirroring the ideas of both Gellner’s preoccupation with cohesion and unity and Smith’s ethno-symbolism, as mentioned previously. These ideas were enforced further when voicing a belief in the canons' ability to create a common cultural platform when implemented as part of a national curriculum (versus, for example, the canon on culture), generating a ‘common’ effect:
It makes it easier to communicate with each other if we have a common foundation. Finally, a solid cultural platform is the best basis for encountering foreign cultures and people with an open and tolerant mind. (Grinder-Hansen 2008:164)
What was voiced and described here was the identical ideological and political framework that was rejected in other statements when speaking purely as a historian: the concern for restoring an imagined homogeneity and wholeness within a territory when confronted and affronted by ‘multiculture’, ‘multiethnicity’ and ‘globalisation’ was voiced.
In the committee on democracy, professor of political philosophy, Ole Thyssen, also reaffirmed the connection between state and nation, democracy and nation, and political integration and cultural integration, arguing that: ‘democracy is based on the idea of the people, regardless that “the people” in practice is inhomogeneous’ (Udvalget 2008:92). He wrote a section about ‘multiculturalism’ that was clearly aimed at ‘non-modern cultures’ in a ‘modern democratic culture’. Earlier, when the committee was appointed, he spoke unmistakably about ‘our Muslim citizens’ as the target group:
Here in the West, back in the day, democracy replaced the idea of a government by a divine prince. Religion has a totally different way of governing according to an authority that cannot be criticised. The core of democracy is that no opinion is sovereign, everything is debatable, and this is what we in the next many years must teach our Muslim citizens. (Thyssen in Skadhede & Raahauge 2007)
Thus, Muslims were placed in our (uncivilised) past, lacking democracy and, therefore, they should assimilate themselves politically and culturally through the democracy canon. So, homogeneity and wholeness are restored. Other committee members said the same. Consultant Esma Birdi stated that the most important thing was that democracy entered the living rooms of the ‘new group of citizens’ (Madsen 2008), and school headmaster Lise Egholm declared that ‘all my black-haired friends’ have a tendency to forget ‘rights and duties’ and lack knowledge of what democracy is (Skadhede & Raahauge 2007). Thus, those who were not thought of as obvious bearers of Danish culture from 'back in the day' were targeted and the oppositional pair of native versus non-native was reinforced by this point of view.
Concerned about the knowledge level in society
This point of view expresses concern about the level of factual knowledge in schools and society. One debater, professor of educational sociology, Jens Rasmussen, interpreted the history canon as neoconservative thinking, and when asked whether it can be interpreted as national rearming, he answered theoretically: ‘Yes, you may well do that’ (Nun 2005b). Rasmussen stressed the consequences of individualism and relativism and the need for tradition, national cultural heritage, etc., but in an elastic way. However, Rasmussen stated that factual knowledge is necessary but not sufficient if Denmark should be a competitive knowledge society. Thus, he accepted the premises given for the educational debate and served and furthered it with his expertise, implicitly helping to avoid crises and Denmark losing its competitiveness, by using ‘knowledge level’ as a symbolic resource.
From another corner, the canon thinking is defended. Professor of educational philosophy, Ove Korsgaard, who in 2006 participated as a debater – and later became a committee member of the canon on democracy – was against the canon on culture, but argued for a canon on democracy to raise the knowledge level in society about citizenship and democracy (Lenler 2006a). Among other things, he led a Master’s Degree education programme in citizenship education and he identified immigrants as those that should be targeted in order for society to be able to build on the values that were assumed to be transmitted through knowledge acquisition. The same line of dispute is found in the arguments of Jørn Lund who chaired the canon committee on culture. He defended what he called the 'canon phenomenon' several times. He engaged in demystifying it and, at the same time, he authorised a standardisation of what art and schooling ‘naturally’ is, i.e. based on canons as ideas. Lund stated that canon thinking is ‘as old as civilisation’, that it is ‘fundamentally human’ to evaluate, prioritise and rank, and that it has been going on in art and schooling for ages (Lund 2004). Later, he clearly refuted what other debaters said about the members being ‘puppets’ and ‘useful idiots’ for the government (Lund 2005). The argument was substantiated by saying that the canon is actually an art canon, and not a culture canon, and that the members are connoisseurs and authorities in their area.
Another aspect of this point of view was voiced by an MP of the Danish People's Party and parish priest, Søren Krarup, who was fond of the canon on culture because: ‘Here, a demand for knowledge and culture is asserted’ (Krarup 2005a). He stressed that knowledge and culture are acquired by individuals through works of spirit and truth, not through work with advertisements, projects and interdisciplinarity as in the 1970s. His adversary is the ‘cultural radicals’ whom he says have:
... no knowledge of the strength of The Danish Culture which is threatened by Islamic Culture, in all respects contrary to ours. Therefore, to Danish Culture, it is a matter of to be or not to be. The people who are cornered in Denmark experience that. (Krarup 2005b)
The two above-mentioned points of view are thus examples of an intensified voicing of what can be interpreted as a prophetic discourse of emotions, using words like ‘risk’, ‘necessary’ and ‘threatened’. Both are in favour of the canons to reintegrate the nation and assert the knowledge level of the nation, although sometimes voiced ambiguously.
Now, four refusals to the idea of canons are exposed, though briefly because they are not described to a great extent in the data, but they crystallised as different viewpoints according to the ideal-type method of data analysis.
The liberal refusal of canons
This point of view opposes the fact that the state wants to interfere and standardise the taste and lives of the population by activating liberalism as a symbolic resource to promote individual freedom. For example, an MP for the Liberal Party who is known as a true liberal but without much influence, Britta Schall Holberg, rejected a Danish cultural canon that implied re-education of the whole population and called it a political canon. She moreover rejected its Danishness, pointing to the fact that art is also produced elsewhere (Jakobsen 2004). A Master of Arts and debater who was employed at the time by the largest bank in Denmark, Morten Albæk, called for a return to a liberal vision, international curiosity and global scenery that future generations could grow up in (Albæk 2005). Finally, a politician from the Social Liberal Party (Det Radikale Venstre), Manu Sareen12In 2017, Manu Sareen is a member of the party called The Alternative (Alternativet). stated that he was ‘assaulted’ by the cultural canon and made a children’s book where immigrants were presented as ‘human beings with the same feelings and problems as oneself’ (Soei 2006). Here, the liberal view turned into an enlargement of the canon, thus turning it into a multicultural canon. This stance was not clearly voiced by any of the canon committee members.
The artistic refusal of canons
Refusal of canon thinking was also voiced by artists who stated that it does not make sense to make such canons. An economically rich composer who was affiliated with the liberal thinktank Cepos, Bent Fabricius-Bjerre, dismissed the canons totally: ‘There should be no rules. Others are not to value what is good. This is restraining’ (Grund 2005).
Two culturally successful theatre producers, Christian Lollike and Peter Langdal, stated that art on theatre stages cannot be canonised because the drama leaves room for the producer and must be flexible. Thus, they suggest that the canon on culture could be called a 'canon on a running wheel' (Toftebjerg 2005). The above-mentioned arguments from Jørn Lund who chaired the canon committee on culture also voiced this view, and committee member and sculptor, Hein Heinesen, boosted the pure artistic argumentation by stating: 'It is the constructive character and the authority of the artworks and pieces, their openness and nuance that carries strength to affect the people' (Tetzlaff 2006). In this way, he dismissed the political character of the canon. Henrik Marstal, a member of the sub-committee for music, reinforced this argument by stating that problems in the committee were overcome because of the members’ mutual good will:
Because the project was better and more important than the Minister, apparently, was able to recognise, and because its character evoked engagement among the members who did not want to be put on standby. (Marstal 2006)
Although Marstal discredited the minister, one could argue that he paradoxically reinforced the minister's political project by adding artistic and cultural competence to it by mobilising art and artistic freedom as symbolic resources.
The antiracist refusal of canons
Refusal was also voiced by jurists (cf. below) who point to racist and discriminatory aspects of the canon idea, referring to and activating international standards and human rights as symbolic resources. In the annual report from the Danish Institute for Human Rights (2007), the cultural canon was criticised because it did not contribute to enhancing diversity. The director of the institute at that time, Morten Kjærum, thus states that such a project of cultural policy should bear in mind how it contributes to an inclusive society, referring to other countries with ethnic conflicts where cultural policy functions as the means to create opposition between ‘us’ and ‘them’ (Jensen 2007). Thus, he points to an internationally known pattern of such political projects of cultural policy that Danish politicians should be aware of because they tend to create the opposite result – divisions and exclusions – than the one that they had hoped for, i.e. national integration and inclusion. This view can be further interpreted when aligning with the insights of political sociologist Alana Lentin, who points out that a shift occurred in the understanding of conflict “from a political understanding of conflict to a biological (racial) one” (Lentin 2014:1281), referring to Foucault’s understanding of modern racism embedded in modern state-crafting and its preoccupation with governing and optimising the life of the population. Lentin points out that ‘the culturalisation of politics’ is itself cultural and that cultural excess and the crisis of multiculturalism are addressed using cultural policy, such as canons. This means the use of culture as a conceptualisation of human differences goes unchallenged and unnoticed. Thus, the argument is that culture has replaced or has the capacity to function as race. This is also what intellectuals such as Morten Kjærum want the Danish public to pay attention to.
Another jurist, a professor at the University of Copenhagen and chairwoman of The European Commission for Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), Eva Smith, also participated in the debate. In a report from ECRI, the Minister of Culture’s wording about combating the immigrants’ so-called inferior culture is noted as is the fact that the Minister was not charged with an offence. Professor Eva Smith stated that he would have been in other countries, but not in Denmark where such statements are a matter of freedom of expression (Hundsbæk 2006).
Finally, an example of this view from within the committee on democracy is from the professor of constitutional law, Henning Koch, who actually left the committee on democracy, indicating that the chairman was one of those in favour of including the Muhammed caricatures in the canon (cf. Hass 2011:268). Koch explained in a radio programme that he thought the newspaper that printed the caricatures tried to canonise a conception of democracy that violated constitutional law in Denmark, stating that lawmakers are authorised to set limits to freedom of speech so that no one should encounter insult, mockery and ridicule (cf. Hass 2011:268–269), which we interpret as a way of voicing an antiracist attitude in this integrationist canon-context of population and, in that regard, racial thinking. Thus, this view also implicitly asserts that the culturalisation of politics has similarities with the racialisation of politics because both are involved in the governing processes regarding the management of the life of the population. Although not explicitly referring to race or racialisation, Koch can be said to acknowledge the significance of race and racialisation and to take a stand against this by not contributing to and condoning this fact any longer and quitting the committee. Koch may thus be an example of what Lentin – by reference to the jurist and social scientist David Theo Goldberg, who specialises in the history of racism – terms anti-racism, which means standing up against the constraining and humiliating conditions revealed, as opposed to anti-racialism, meaning just taking a stand against a concept or a category not involving standing up against the conditions revealed (Lentin 2014:1275).
The objective refusal of canons as a national and ideological project per se
Several participants in the debate clearly state that the canons are national and ideological projects activating ‘objective’ scientific analysis as a symbolic resource. For example, professor of didactics, Per Fibæk Laursen, answered 'yes' when asked whether the history canon is an expression of national rearming (Nun 2005a). Professor of history didactics, Bernard E. Jensen, states that canons are part of the care of cultural heritage, which in turn is identity politics. He argues that the canon is a clever way to relaunch the assumptions of an ethnic Danish community of the people without referring to the language of national romanticism of the 1800s (Jensen 2008). Professor emeritus of history, Jens Engberg, who is an expert in the history of cultural policy, notes that the canon and cultural policy, in general, are means of government as the Prime Minister at that time, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, stated. The Ministry of Culture became the ideological ministry to combat the social democratic way of thinking that had dominated political thinking in Denmark for most of the 20th century. Engberg specifies:
There has to be control over things. Therefore, The Minister of Culture has identified some well-meaning people who will participate in identifying the content of such a canon. These people have no particular political agenda, but what they do, will have political significance whether they want it or not. The canon is a reactionary phenomenon that is meant to take us back to something we left in a time period where we, in other respects, are letting go of the national feeling. (Kassebeer 2005)
Engberg voices the same ambiguity as our analysis has shown, i.e. the canon committee members expressing independency; however, they are intrinsically tied to the political and national project of the state. Another historian, Associate Professor Jes Fabricius Møller, states that the members apparently disregarded the fact that the whole idea of making a national cultural canon per se is part of a conservative value battle.
Concluding remarks – The cultural policy of canons and the intellectuals’ role in culturalisation and racialisation of human differences
Closing this article, it is clear that the intellectuals’ engagement in the debate stretches the points of view from one pole to another. On the one hand, one extreme of prophesying, ‘possible scandal and danger’, and targeting is intensified by the first two points of view regarding national integrationism and knowledge level. On the other hand, the opposite extreme of refusal of the canons emerges and has two rather vague views – the liberal and the artistic view – and it has two rather strong viewpoints: the antiracist and the objective description.
If we look into the intellectuals that represent the views, it is remarkable that, on the one hand, the extreme view of intensified prophesying is voiced by humanistic sciences, such as educational science, history, philosophy and cultural studies, and by right-wing politicians. On the other hand, the strong refusals of canons as national and racist projects are primarily voiced by jurists and historians, whereas artists and socially liberal politicians put forth the vague refusals.
In this article, aspects of the ruling power’s political arguments for and intellectuals’ points of view regarding canons in the 2000s have been conceptualised as the symbolic boundary work of the state. We have pointed out that the individual is pictured as naturally placed in a national culture rooted in a territory that should be defended and fenced during an anticipated time of crisis represented by ‘globalisation’ and ‘multiculturalism’. Thus, migrating individuals from the outside are made ‘eternal strangers’ and a natural difference and inequality is produced and legitimised according to the following logic: there are native Danes and citizens of the West, and there are non-native Danes and citizens from outside the West, and these non-natives and non-Westerners are deemed problematic and targets of intervention. Danishness is thus constructed as a national–European and Western phenomenon, rather than as a national phenomenon opposed to other European and Western nationalities, thus positioning Denmark and Danishness globally as belonging to a Western alliance. A chronology of the Danish and Western culture’s development is described for ‘the strangers’ to adapt to rationally.
In the analysis of the arguments for the canons and the debate above, we have shown how some of the points of view appear relatively definite, while other views appear ambiguous and spongy. Hence, the ambiguity with which some of the points of view emerge is remarkable.
The intellectual as a cultural producer has a specific form of power, i.e. a symbolic power to make people notice and believe certain things and to draw attention to confusing, indefinite and inarticulate experiences and make them explicit, objective and thus existent. Either they can use this power in the service of the dominating or they can let the dominated use this power. In the case of the Danish canons, most intellectuals inside the committees use their symbolic power in the service of the dominating political power but, at the same time, the intellectuals think of themselves as autonomous and competent intellectuals in their area, whether that is literature, art or humanistic sciences such as history. The intellectual is, therefore, intrinsically a paradoxical existence that interferes in political life due to a specific authority based on relatively autonomous artistic, scientific or literary values. When the canon members refer to, for example, pure artistic or historical professional points of view, they signal that they belong to an independent field and that they gain their professional legitimacy from this field. At the same time, they engage their professional competence and authority in a political act outside the intellectual field. In other words, the intellectual has the capacity to become politicised. Thus, the intellectual is a paradoxical synthesis of contradictions, which makes it possible that the intellectual’s cultural capital can connect to positions that history points out as being potentially beneficial (cf. Bourdieu 1992b:185–186).
The Danish intellectuals who partake in the debate about the canons are indeed participating in prophesying when they indicate what is ‘necessary’ to ‘secure’ the future, what is ‘endangered’, etc. The prophetic discourse sets in motion what the French sociologist Gisela Sapiro (2003) calls ‘emotional preaching’ and produces collective representations. The prophetic model was prominent in the national romanticism of the 1800s, and it had a political dimension in relation to the cultural construction of national identities. Referring to Bourdieu, Sapiro stresses that the prophet is made for crises and for making scenarios when the future (supposedly) is at stake. However, in the Danish case, it is intellectuals who – when they are and accept being politicised – enter the prophets’ sphere of ideological and emotional speech in the construction of national identity and the vision of native Danes versus non-native Danes.
Due to cultural capital being used politically and the intellectual being politicised, the canons as an example of cultural policy have the capacity for political and national use of culture as Dubois (2015) has pointed out. This article has shown that the capacity is exploited precisely because intellectuals play the role we have described. Furthermore, we can conclude that the culturalisation, in which culture is used to conceptualise human differences, is merely a continuation of the racialisation Ball (2013) described as part of the management of the population in the 1930s with the involvement of eugenicists and sociologists. In Denmark, in the 2000s, intellectuals’ symbolic power plays a role as an important ideological capacity to legitimise the prevailing and racialised order of the Danish nation-state, which understands itself as affronted by globalisation. It seeks to demarcate and protect its territory and national culture, appealing for ‘roots’ and ‘fencing’ of the culture within the territory, thus rearticulating blood as culture. In this case, it is reasonable to indicate that culturalisation is a continuation of racialisation, and culture should then not be seen as separate from race in political terms (cf. Lentin 2014:1281).
Something similar might be at stake and even strengthened with the canon on Danishness. The canon has been published and ten values, such as the Christian cultural heritage, Danish language, and the concept of trust, are canonised. This time, the public could suggest what should be canonised, six appointed professional curators (intellectuals) then decided on 20 values that were put out to a vote, and ten values were then formulated as the ones the Danish population voted for and thus find the most valuable13 https://www.danmarkskanon.dk/
While we wait to see what role intellectuals will play in future debates about canons in Denmark and beyond, we can think of Foucault’s statement on the importance of allowing refusal as an intellectual, such as the example that Koch illustrated. Asked by a student whether there are positive themes regarding what is good, Foucault says: 'I am not a prophet; I am not an organiser', and he continues:
I think that at the heart of all this, there’s a misunderstanding about the function of philosophy, of the intellectual, of knowledge in general, and that is that it’s up to them to tell us what is good. Well, no! No, no, no! That’s not their role. They already have far too much of a tendency to play that role as it is. For two thousand years, they’ve been telling us what is good, with the catastrophic consequences that this has implied. There’s a terrible game here, a game which conceals a trap, in which intellectuals tend to say what is good, and people ask nothing better than to be told what is good – and it would be better if they started yelling, “How bad it is!” (Foucault 1988:13)
SourcesWe distinguish between sources and references. Sources are the source material that is explicitly used as data material for the article’s original analyses, whereas references are all other references than these sources. It goes without saying that only a small amount of the total dataset is referred to explicitly in order to keep the length of the article at a minimum.
|1||All quotes from Danish documents are translated to English by the authors.|
|2||This article is the second article written in connection to a sub-project of the project titled Fremtidens rationale mellem planer og kanoner – kulturhistoriske antagelser om individ og fremtid i dansk skolepædagogik 1945–2008. The project was funded by The Independent Research Council in Denmark (Section of Humanities) 2008–2011. The first article was a short article in Danish focusing on the political power and its arguments for the canons as well as on the committee members’ arguments (Øland 2012). This article uses the same data but structures it in a different and more stringent way methodically, by reference to symbolic boundary making (Lamont 1992), and by making an analysis of the political arguments for the canons as a backdrop to a detailed analysis of the intellectuals’ viewpoints in the public debate. This analysis of the intellectuals’ different views is the pivotal analysis of this article and was only partly mentioned on half a page in the first article. Also, this article’s analyses are aligned to research on symbolic resources and nationalism mobilised in a time of alleged crises, most notably Ball (2013), Gullestad (2006), Lentin (2014) and Muel-Dreyfus (2001), and classical theories of nation and nationalism, which were not used in the first article.|
|3||In Denmark, ’bilingual’ is the only legal term with which to record ‘immigrant’ pupils – it is not legal to do so according to ‘race’, ‘ethnicity’ or ‘religion’.|
|4||Cultural policy refer to the more specific area of public cultural policy such as the launch of canons, its content and how this content is constituted. We also use the term politics to refer to a broader political context, e.g. as it is used when we point to ‘a space of politics’ referring to our theoretical underpinning.|
|5||We are aware of, e.g. Jürgen Habermas’ notions on constitutional patriotism, but the scope of this article is to study the arguments and discussions surrounding the canons as part of a symbolic boundary work. Hence we are not aiming for a theoretical philosophical discussion about nationhood, citizenship and what should be the glue in a multicultural society.|
|6||When referring to the newspaper articles, page numbers from the paper edition are not referred to because the articles are read in electronic form.|
|7||These canons were not included as material for this article because they were not intensely politically discussed but are part of the same move.|
|8||This occurred in January and February 2006 and was caused by the responses to the caricature drawings of the Prophet Muhammed, published by the Danish newspaper Jyllandsposten at the end of 2005. This event is also often referred to as ‘the caricature crisis’ depending on political stance.|
|9||The canon committee on culture, nominated by the Minister for Culture in office, was chaired by director of The Danish Language and Literature Society, Master of arts in Danish Language and Language Psychology, Jørn Lund. The canon committee on history, nominated by the Minister for Education in office, was headed by university professor and doctor in history, Knud J. V. Jespersen, who is an expert in Danish resistance during the German occupation 1940–45 and in Danish foreign policy 1648–1720. The canon committee on democracy, nominated by the Prime Minister in office who personally made the telephone calls to the canon committee members (Skadhede & Raahauge 2007) was also chaired by professor and doctor in history, Knud J. V. Jespersen.|
|10||It is beyond the scope of this article to include analyses of how the individuals we define as intellectuals understand themselves.|
|11||In 2017, New Alliance is called Liberal Alliance, and Naser Khader, who was a cofounder of the party in 2007, is a member of the Conservative People's Party.|
|12||In 2017, Manu Sareen is a member of the party called The Alternative (Alternativet).|
|14||We distinguish between sources and references. Sources are the source material that is explicitly used as data material for the article’s original analyses, whereas references are all other references than these sources. It goes without saying that only a small amount of the total dataset is referred to explicitly in order to keep the length of the article at a minimum.|