Who benefits from public funding of the performing arts? Comparing the art provision and the hegemony-distinction approaches

Tal Feder, Tally Katz-Gerro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this paper we ask, who does cultural policy serve? We test the applicability of two theoretical approaches that explain the motivations that underlie public funding of the performing arts. One approach emphasizes the role of cultural policy in making the arts accessible to the wider public. The second approach emphasizes how cultural policy facilitates processes of hegemony-distinction. Using data from Israel, we document trends in the public funding of arts organizations in the domains of dance, orchestras, theater, and opera over a period of 48 years. Employing a time series analysis, we demonstrate how these trends in funding are associated with changes in level of education, ethnic composition, and level of income in the population. Our main conclusion is that in terms of how funding responds to changes in education and income-support for the performing arts in Israel benefits the wider public. However, in terms of how funding responds to changes in the size of ethnic groups-support for the performing arts in Israel caters to elite interests. This intricate set of relationships is discussed in the light of the two theoretical approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-381
Number of pages23
JournalPoetics
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

Keywords

  • Budget analysis
  • Cultural policy
  • Israel
  • Performing arts
  • Public funding

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