9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN07 Sociology of Culture

2009-09-05 13:30:00 2009-09-05 15:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 13:30 - 15:00 Cultural Policies, Planning and Impact Building II, C4.07

Cultural planning in Italian small and middle towns

Within the research network of the universities of Venice, Udine, Padua, Parma and Catania, the research group of IUAV University of Venice coordinated by Antonino Porrello has undertaken a study path about Italian small and middle towns of culture, i.e. province or township capitals basing their development pattern on the promotion of arts and culture at urban scale.
In this vision, a strong connection is established between the dynamism of such Italian ?culture towns? ? expressed in their configuration of labs experimenting innovative forms of cultural planning and governance ? and the approach and the forms of urban cultural offer. With regards to the approach, it is possible to distinguish between a social and economic development based on cultural innovation, and an ?incremental? one, driven by logic of urban and cultural marketing; between the promotion of élite fine arts and culture, and of events aimed at the general public according to a wider definition of culture; or of ?mass? events based on large numbers and market operations eliciting high economic returns.
So local authorities and companies invoke and evoke culture as a source to legitimate their actions or strategies for local development. But are the terms development and events compatible with culture? How and at which conditions? Which is the relation between the typologies of promoted events and towns features?
Today, such development patterns founded upon mobilizing cultural resources, aiming at a sustainable and equal social and economic local development, are configured as a response to the development driven by the mobility of financial capitals, by global economic competitiveness and the centralization of economy command functions. In this context, are Italian small and middle towns of culture influenced by the same globalization dynamics regulating great cities? And if these dynamics are the same, how much they involve small and middle towns and the territory? Which is the balance between globalizing pushes and the reinforcement of local dimension, culture, peculiarities and place identity?