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Intergovernmental cultural policy coordination in the European Union: the open method of coordination and the 2011-2014 work plan for culture

Mattocks, Kathleen (2017). Intergovernmental cultural policy coordination in the European Union: the open method of coordination and the 2011-2014 work plan for culture. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This thesis examines the European Union’s Open Method of Coordination (OMC) in the field of cultural policy. The OMC, a method of intergovernmental policy coordination that is centrally coordinated by the European Commission, was introduced in the cultural field in 2008. Using a case study of Policy Priority A in the 2011-2014 Work Plan for Culture, this thesis examines how the OMC operates as well as what outcomes it produces. It does so using a sociological institutionalism theoretical framework, supplemented with insights from the literatures on multi-level governance and policy learning. It uses a combination of research methods including document analysis, interviews with key actors, and participant observation, ultimately leading to new insights into the processes and practices of EU policy coordination.

Findings on the processes of coordination reveal insights into the EU’s inter-institutional dynamics and demonstrate that the European Commission is a key player in the culture OMC. They also indicate considerable heterogeneity in how Member States ‘approach’ participation in the OMC and indicate that ultimately there is a weak connection between the OMC and national-level politics. Findings also show that the outcomes of coordination are multifaceted; while few examples of direct political and programmatic change were found, there is a complex set of other outcomes, including increased vertical coordination, socialisation and networking, and heuristic learning and concept usage.

The thesis’ findings make contributions to several multi-disciplinary areas of academic research. They add most directly to the literatures on EU cultural policy, specifically on the processes and outcomes of policy coordination in the field, and contribute a new sectoral case study to the existing literature on the Open Method of Coordination as well. They also make broader contributions to the study of cultural policy (in particular cultural policy approached from a political science/public policy perspective), policy learning, and European governance and integration.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
School of Policy & Global Affairs > School of Policy & Global Affairs Doctoral Theses
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