All three of the journal articles published from my PhD research on cultural policy coordination in the European Union are out now, so I thought I would do a roundup. They are listed below with links and abstracts.
‘A few sparks of inspiration’?: analysing the outcomes of European Union cultural policy coordination (European Politics and Society, vol 19, issue 1, 2018)
This article examines the outcomes of cultural policy coordination in the European Union using a case study of one policy priority in the 2011–2014 Work Plan for Culture. The Open Method of Coordination brings Member States together to exchange and cooperate on key policy priorities. Drawing on interviews with key actors as well as participant observation material, the article demonstrates the limited influence of the culture OMC on domestic policy, showing that domestic usage tends to be on the scale of individuals and organisations rather than Member State-wide. The article finishes by contextualising the outcomes, highlighting the constraints and challenges of intergovernmental coordination in fields where the EU holds a supporting competence.
Co‐ordinating Co‐ordination: The European Commission and the Culture Open Method of Co‐ordination (Journal of Common Market Studies, vol 56, issue 2, 2018)
This article examines the role of the European Commission in non‐legislative policy co‐ordination in the European Union. Using the Open Method of Co‐ordination (OMC) in the oft‐neglected sector of cultural policy as a case study, it argues that rather than a neutral facilitator as it appears on paper, the Commission occupies both a political and administrative leadership role in the operation of the culture OMC. Through analysis of policy documentation, interviews and non‐participant observation material, the article demonstrates how the Commission has operated as a key driver and agenda‐setter in the field, exposing the inter‐institutional dynamics in a competence in which the EU has a supporting role. The findings thus have broader implications for the study of agenda‐setting and European integration in policy sectors where the EU holds a supporting competence.
“Just Describing is Not Enough”: Policy Learning, Transfer, and the Limits of Best Practices (Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, vol 48, issue 2, 2018)
Despite widespread use in the cultural field, best practices remain theoretically and empirically under-researched. The aim of this article is to achieve better understanding of their use and effectiveness in policy learning and transfer, using a case study of a cross-national policy coordination process in the European Union, the Open Method of Coordination. Using empirical data from interview and non-participant observation material, the article highlights several fundamental challenges of best practices, such as issues of contextualization, representativeness, and critical analysis. It finishes by offering six critical reflection questions on the use of best practices.