Art and cultural planning in Italy
Sociology University of Padova Padova, Italy
The sociological glance on the worlds of art has become more specific in recent years as a result of the recognition of the firm and fundamental social construction of the reality of art (Berger, Luckmann 1969), or perhaps even of the very collective nature of artistic creation (Becker 2004). This glance is also the result of the world of art opening to complexity. Vis-à-vis this crucial moment, which marked the shift from modernity to post-modernity, the worlds of art had to propose at least dealing with some essential points, if not satisfying some special conditions. First, giving up being the object of cultural policies and, rather, becoming the subject of cultural planning. They still have to open to the heuristic dimension of art as society (Heinich 2004), paying special attention to formation and management of the public as well as to feed-back processes between the public and the generators of cultural policies.
In order to scrutinise more closely the changes that the cultural heritage can face to transform from object of exploitation to instrument for local development, and to verify the likelihood of creating cooperation and assistance networks through the cultural capital (art), innovatively understood as stimulus and producer of the social capital (thus overturning Becker's theory), I thought of using a series of data coming form planners themselves and obtained via a top-down approach. They are completely original, unpublished data on perspectives and aspects of Italian (especially Veneto region) cultural policies directed to the organisation of cultural exhibitions and events: projects to be offered to museums, local bodies, or different territorial realities looking for ideas and stimuli. Cultural projects that are indeed planned top-down, but as the result of network efforts between individuals, cultural realities, businesses, scholars, experts, as well as subjects and communicators, among which press offices (Amari, 2006), often involved in the machine of the abnormal production of exhibitions and other events in Italy (about 100 a day!). Such projects create a public, be it real or fictitious, recruiting crowds of both potential enthusiasts and passive fashion slaves.