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Poland/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.2 National definition of culture

An official definition of culture in the Republic of Poland is constantly in debate. Unofficially, culture is being defined as both "an area of social life which helps to create values" and as "a field in which artistic creation has a major role". These two aspects are presented in several government documents such as "Cultural Policy of the State in a New Historical Situation", a speech of the Minister of Culture at the conference entitled "The Situation of Polish Culture at the Time of Transformation 1989 – 1997".

In reality, the problem is not the definition of culture, but the scope of state responsibilities for culture and the interests of the Ministry of Culture (see chapter 3.2).

The emphasis being placed on national heritage, for example, is on the one hand easy to understand in the light of globalisation and European integration processes. On the other hand it generates fears of a traditional understanding of culture and raises questions about support for contemporary cultural issues and activities.

A new attitude towards culture can also be noticed. One example is the effort being made to stress the economic value of culture. The latter is, however, creating a separation between subsidised culture, which is a central objective of state cultural policy, and its industries. More and more objections are being voiced regarding this separation. This new way of defining culture is reflected in the 2004 government document, The Strategy for Development of Culture 2004-2007. In this document, culture is defined as one of the elementary factors of development, the basis of intellectual capital, while it also encourages equal opportunities in access to culture and promotes economic growth through rising investment attractiveness of particular territorial units and Poland as a whole culture is also the basic determinant in defining the metropolitan functions of cities in a spatial, economic and social context.

Chapter published: 20-08-2015

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