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Italy/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.3 Cultural policy objectives

Within the broader framework of the cultural objectives pursued by the Italian Constitution – "heritage and landscape protection", "cultural development", "pluralism and freedom of expression" (see chapter 1 and chapter 5.1.1) - the following more detailed objectives for government action are defined by Leg. Decree 368/1998, by which the new Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities was created:

  1. the protection and valorisation of cultural heritage;
  2. the promotion of reading and of books and libraries
  3. the promotion of urban and architectural quality;
  4. the promotion of cultural activities, with particular reference to the performing arts and cinema and the visual arts;
  5. the support of artistic research and innovation;
  6. higher training in all cultural disciplines; and
  7. the diffusion of Italian culture and art abroad.

Although there is no automatic correlation of these objectives with the cultural policy principles of the Council of Europe – promotion of identity and diversity, support to creativity – objective 1 appears to be strictly connected with identity issues, whereas objectives 3, 4 and 5 are mainly related to creativity issues. On the other hand, the other two more socially relevant cultural policy principles of the Council of Europe – i.e. diversity and participation in cultural life –have not been dealt with by Decree 368 among the Ministry's objectives.

As far as participation in the field of heritage is concerned, though, it should be noted that Article 6 of the subsequent, basic legislation rationalising heritage matters, the Heritage and Landscape Codex (delegated decree 42/2004: see chapter 5.3.3) clarifies that the "valorisation" of heritage should include both its "protection" and "the guarantee of the best possible conditions for its public utilisation and enjoyment". Actions aiming at fully enacting Article 6 have been carried out in the last years by the DG for the Valorisation of Cultural Heritage (see chapter 4.2.2).

On the other hand, the goal of promoting diversity in cultural life as a whole has not yet become a priority for our national cultural policy (see chapter 4.2.7). There is still a delay in pursuing strategies to overcome the country's enduring social and geographical cultural imbalances, as well as in acknowledging the potentially relevant role of culture in fostering social cohesion and mutual understanding in an increasingly multicultural society. It is no coincidence that, unlike in other countries (see in particular the UK), no administrative units within the ministry responsible for culture are entrusted with promoting culture as a means for social cohesion, cultural integration and more in general the cultural rights of the over five million foreign residents who have settled in Italy over the last decades. A new awareness of these problems, though, seems to be underway (see  chapter 1 and chapter 4.2.4).

Chapter published: 05-07-2016

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