France/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation
3.4.6 Other relevant issues
French cultural policy will certainly be marked, in the short term, by various questions such as:
- the protection of cultural diversity, which will form part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 (France holds the Presidency of the Commission of the European Union in the first half of 2008). The diversity of cultures was the main theme of the festival of francophone cultures (March-October 2006). This festival, organised with the support of AFAA, endeavoured to show the modernity and the multiplicity of the francophone world to the general public. Cultural diversity is a result of globalisation. Respect for this diversity is a cultural and identity issue. It is in this sense that it is necessary to understand the concept of "cultural exception". It does not mean that French culture is exceptional compared to others, but that culture in general has a statute "of exception" which distinguishes it from the goods usually consumed. It is what the ministers of culture have been calling for over the past twenty years: to affirm the "exceptional" character of culture paradoxically within an economic framework; i.e. to promote European cultural industries in their pluralist diversity. Cultural diversity and cultural exception are thus closely dependent from an economic point of view, as they protect the diffusion of rare cultural products that would otherwise be crushed by competition from consumer goods;
- the role of regional and foreign languages has become a tool for expression and creation within the framework of cultural diversity, which is so ardently supported by France within the framework of cultural diversity. This diversity is the fundamental rule of ordinary everyday life; and
- the diversity of the public is another dimension to consider. The increase in the number of foreign music, film, visual arts, literature, etc. appearing on the market is a reflection of the growing diversity of the local population.
Chapter published: 18-04-2008