A narrative approach to cultural policy change analysis

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I have recently published in the journal Critical Policy Studies a paper about the role of discourse in the processes of cultural policy change. The cultural policy domain can be considered a relevant object of study for analysing policy change processes in which policy discourse and the ambiguity of language have a central role. However, there are few studies that analyze cultural policy and policy change. This article therefore develops an approach for analyzing policy change based on evidence from a case study of the development of cultural policy in Catalonia. In this narrative interactionist approach, policy change is taken to mean the result of the symbolic interaction among political actors, within a relatively restricted institutional framework. Policy change is conditioned by the variations in the process of symbolic legitimation of government intervention, in this case in the cultural arena. By adapting the concept of frame alignment to policy change analysis, this article shows that the alignment between policy frames and a master frame underpins this symbolic legitimation. The process of alignment is dynamic and leads to a modification of the actors’ policy frames.
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