The governing mechanisms of cultural policy – for instance the arm’s length principle or the corporatist structure of arts councils – have been subject to numerous studies. Far less attention has been paid to the underlying aesthetic principles of those mechanisms. The current thematic issue of NKT wants to amend this gap by inviting contributions on the “aesthetics” of cultural policy; in other words, the ideas and notions of art articulated in specific cultural policy reforms and in cultural policy discourses.

Whatever shape it takes, cultural policy requires a conception of art. While such visions may be more explicit in authoritarian or totalitarian regimes, they are no less present in the cultural policies of liberal democracies. A normative definition of art is for instance necessary in order promote its production, communication, and consumption. In this issue of NKT, we want to investigate on what grounds these distinctions are made. What notions of art and its function are articulated in cultural policy past and present? Is there an aesthetic specific to policy makers, distinct from the history of art and literature? How are these ideas articulated, and how do they relate to the aesthetic and theoretical thinking of practicing artists, poets, and writers?

Since both the history of art and literature and that of cultural policy entail processes whereby artistic objects and practices are codified and made meaningful, it appears fruitful to further investigate their interconnections. We thus encourage interdisciplinary efforts, focusing on historical as well as contemporary phenomena, inviting scholars to study concepts, thoughts, events, and artefacts that link the history of cultural policy to the history of art and literature – and vice versa.

Research topics raised by the issue include, but are not limited to:

  • The dialectics of aesthetics and cultural policy in the Nordic countries

  • The fashioning of subjects in literature and art, and its relation to the fashioning of political subjects or citizens of the state (and vice versa)

  • The limits and advantages of a traditional concept of “aesthetics” as a framework for the public and political understanding of art and literature

  • Cultural policy and the Romantic heritage

  • Nationalism

  • Literary and artistic modernism and cultural policy

  • Canon and cultural policy

  • Artist organisations

  • Amateur culture organisations

  • Cultural democracy

  • Democratisation of culture

Send you abstract submission no later than 31st October 2020 to Linnéa Lindsköld,

Timeline for Thematic issue 2/2021

Abstracts due: 31st October 2020 Articles due: 20th April 2021

Peer-reviewed and proof-read articles to editors: 16th October 2021

Guest Editors

Linnéa Lindsköld, PhD and Senior Lecturer in Library and Information Science, Centre for Cultural Policy Research, University of Borås. Lindsköld has conducted several discourse oriented studies of cultural and literature policy focusing on the key concepts quality and diversity, as well as radical right cultural policy. She is currently working on two research projects financed by the Swedish Research Council: The making of the reading citizen. Public debate and policy 1945-2017 and The Welfare Regime of Literature. The Function of Literature in Sweden 1937–1976.

Erik Erlanson, PhD, researcher and Senior Lecturer at the Department for Film and Literature, Linnaeus University. In his thesis, he investigated the arts of existence developed by a number of 20th century American, French and Scandinavian poets. Presently he is working with a project investigating the function of literature in the Swedish welfare state apparatus and on the relationship between economics, technology, and aesthetics. He is also editor of the Swedish journal Subaltern and translator of works by, among others, Pierre Klossowski, Max Loreau, and Luce Irigaray.

Jon Helgason, PhD and Associate Professor in Comparative Literature and Lecturer in Icelandic at Linnaeus University. His most recent works include two co-authored monographs (2015, 2017) on literary value and value regimes in the contemporary literary and cultural sphere in Sweden, as well as two co-edited research anthologies on bestseller phenomena (2014) and performativity and performance theory (2016), respectively. Helgason is former chairman of the Swedish Art Council’s Literature Committee (2016–2019).

Peter Henning, PhD and Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature at Umeå University. His thesis (2015) dealt with memory and writing in 19th century Sweden. As a postdoc, he has researched the tension between materiality and aesthetics in European Romanticism with special regard to the work of John Keats. Currently, he studies the function of art and literature in the Swedish welfare state.