Text topic: Culture and Diplomacy
Text author: Љиљана Рогач МијатовићIn the past few years, cultural diplomacy has become important among the priorities of European Union (EU) policies. In that political vision, European cultural relations should be based on transnational interactions between two or more cultures, be equal, un-projective and noncoercive, and guided by mutual cooperation of state and non-state actors. The paper examines the development of the European Union’s (EU) cultural diplomacy agenda, from ”culture in external relations” to ”inclusive cultural relations” and the ”new spirit of dialogue” as a political narrative and institutional logic, laying the foundations for contemporary priorities of European foreign cultural policy, its instruments and programs. The theoretical and empirical framework of the analysis is set by considering the dichotomies of discourse and political rhetoric surrounding EU cultural diplomacy. The methodology of the work is based on an analysis of the EU public policy discourse and documents, initiatives, contents and announcements related to cultural diplomacy and foreign cultural policy, in order to see their development phases, concepts and scope of activities for improving international cultural relations. In defining and interpreting the current European ”narrative” and the paradigm of cultural diplomacy, the paper starts from the multi-perspectival theoretical foundation of cultural diplomacy and related concepts. The analysis shows how the EU’s decade-long effort to shape its foreign policy and cultural strategy has gained its explicit ex-pression from the implicit one. At several stages of development, the EU has adopted a new model of cultural diplomacy that combines elements of several definitions – and theoretical frameworks – of public diplomacy and soft power, cultural policy, international cultural relations and cultural cooperation. This integrated EU strategic approach is based on a broad definition of culture, intercultural dialogue and cooperation, and a bottom-up approach. In order to balance the soft power projection dimension in EU cultural diplomacy policy and practice, it would be necessary to persist in advocating for a cultural perspective that would focus on collaborative approaches and field processes generated by cultural diplomacy projects and actors. It would essentially be an incentive for a ”new spirit of dialogue” both between member states and with third countries that are on the European path.