Cultural Policy and the Integral State: A Gramscian Analysis of Arts Funding

Izabella Nantsou


The subsidised arts occupy a precarious position in Australian government priorities. In the context of advanced neoliberalism, Australian cultural policy has been designed in line with an exclusively economic regard for the sector. In this article, two previous cultural policies—the Keating Labor government’s federal cultural policy, Creative Nation (1994), and the Kennett Liberal state government’s Arts 21 (1994)—are analysed, with attention paid to the adverse effects that these political interventions have had on the arts sector. Both policies emerged from a context of economic recovery in which the arts were reimagined in terms of their productive and economic potential, and subsidy was made contingent upon adherence to neoliberal imperatives. Through Antonio Gramsci’s theory of the ‘integral State’, this article provides a framework for understanding the machinations of the State under capitalism; the coercive nature of policy; and the dialectics of arts funding.


cultural policy; Australia; neoliberalism; Marxism; creative industries

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