The Ministère de la Ville was created in 1990 to deal with urban affairs and problems. It implements the “Politique de la ville” – which defines inter-ministerial projects to be carried out in the districts, the cities or the municipalities, or even in an entire département such as the Seine Saint-Denis (93). At the core of this policy is cultural development, which has been supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication and its Regional Directorates. Since 2002 however, their interest has been decreasing with new emphasis placed on social assistance and social housing construction.
Yet, the role of culture as a factor of social cohesion is recognised as an essential fact in the cultural policies led in France at all territorial levels. For example in May, 2011 the Ministry of Culture launched a call for projects to accompany the development of new modes of artistic practices and expressions of the populations in particular when they contribute to strengthening social cohesion, and also to encourage innovation by mixing techniques of popular education, solidarity and amateur practice. This experiment supported 74 projects. We also find these concerns in the involvement of very many territorial authorities in the implementation of Agenda 21 for Culture (see chapter 2.9).
Through these policies, the social cohesion issue of culture is considered in urban areas (“intercultural cities”) and in rural ones. More widely, these actions are very often linked to the advocacy of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue (see chapter 2.5.1).