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Spain/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.2 National definition of culture

Nowhere is "culture" defined in cultural policy documents. As the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport acknowledges in the introduction to one of its periodic reports on cultural legislation, "the concept of culture as expressed in the Constitution of 1978 is extremely loose and flexible". In his first speech, the current Minister of Education, Culture and Sport referred to "culture" as: "culture has a transverse nature. It includes cultural and creative industries, cultural tourism, cultural action abroad, creativity and innovation, cultural employment etc." (March 8, 2012).

From a technical standpoint, when collecting statistical information on different areas of cultural activity, the Ministry says, "the acknowledged European standard is used as the guideline telling us both which cultural sectors and sub sectors to include and how performance is to be measured [...] including the following: public libraries, public archives, artistic and architectural cultural properties, book and journal publishing, the visual, performing and musical arts, classical music and the audiovisual arts".

One source that defines the boundaries of culture is the Spanish Constitution of 1978 and the regional charters. Articles 148 and 149 of the Spanish Constitution establish the scope of the areas of competence of the central government and regional communities.

Regional governments may assume competences over handicrafts (148.1.14); museums, libraries and music conservatories of interest to the Autonomous Community (148.1.15); monuments of interest (148.1.16); and the promotion of culture, research and, where applicable, the teaching of their language (148.1.17). In bilingual regions, recovery, conservation and promotion of the native language have been added. The state holds exclusive competence over legislation on intellectual and industrial property (149.1.9); organisation of press, radio and television and, in general all means of social communication, without prejudice to powers vested in the Autonomous Communities related to their development and implementation (149.1.27); protection of Spain's cultural and artistic heritage and national monuments from exportation and despoliation; museums, libraries, and archives belonging to the state, without prejudice to their management by the Autonomous Communities (149.1.28).

See also chapter 5.1.1 and chapter 5.1.2.

Chapter published: 24-06-2015

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