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The French RepublicHistory, Values, Debates$
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Edward Ducler Berenson, Vincent Duclert, and Christophe Prochasson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449017

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449017.001.0001

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Cultural Policy

Cultural Policy

(p.344) 38 Cultural Policy
The French Republic

Herman Lebovics

Cornell University Press

This chapter charts the evolution of cultural policy throughout French history. In France the idea that the state has a responsibility for aesthetic culture, as for national defense, the economy, and the highways, is old. But the term “cultural policy” dates only from the time when Charles de Gaulle, on assuming power in the new Fifth Republic, asked André Malraux to head a new Ministry of Cultural Affairs (1959). In this context culture is the proclaimed basis of French internal unity and international eminence, and acts as a central component to French republican ideals. Marlaux's work came apart in the heat of May 1968, however, and much of the current national cultural policy has since been bent on sustaining existing establishments and simply maintaining and repairing the holdings of France's extensive built heritage—safeguarding rather than expanding upon its cultural base.

Keywords:   French cultural policy, aesthetic culture, national culture, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, French internal unity, French republican ideals, built heritage, crisis of French culture

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