Kampen om en nationalscene for rytmisk musik: Et policy blik på et kulturpolitisk område og dets aktører

Tine Brodersen & Bente Poulsen

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


Through the last five years, actors of the Danish music environment have been debating the status of rhythmic music in Denmark. The debate has been evolving around the topic ‘a na-tional scene for rhythmic music’ - whether this scene will be the solution to problems such as bad acoustic conditions on the Danish live venues, lack of audience capacity, professionaliza-tion of the live venue managements and the development of new business models, or whether a national scene of rhythmic music will undermine the Danish tradition for a decen-tralized model with state subsidies to a large number of live venues through out the country, or become a national conservative, outdated symbol etc. We consider the debate about the national scene as a policy area with different actors who represent a wide range of actors of the Danish music environment, e.g. live venues, members of parliament, experts, and interest groups. Each of these actors has their own agenda. We have labelled the debate as the struggle for the national scene of rhythmic music. To be able to look inside this ‘black box’ and understand what the struggle is about and what is happen-ing in the policy process we have collected empirical data through interviews and article search on the topic. Furthermore we have based the analysis on institutional theories. The main question of the thesis is: What kind of ‘struggle’ takes place in the debate for a na-tional scene of rhythmic music? In chapter 3 we have outlined the main events concerning the debate of a national scene for rhythmic music in Denmark. The timeline dates back to 2004 and up to present time. In chapter 4 we have analyzed the structures and processes of the debate with Nikolaos Za-hariadis’ Multiple Stream Framework. The model is based on garbage can theory and identify multiple streams of problems, politics and policies with each their significant features. In the problem stream we have identified e.g. focusing events such as Vega promoting an Mega Vega agenda and an agenda where Vega is the national scene of rhythmic music; ‘Tænketank for Rytmisk Musik’ recommending a national scene; the live venues’ financial problems; the political parties S, SF and R publishing “Op på beatet”; and the arts council recommending the concept ‘development laboratory’. And problem loads such as e.g. the financial crisis. In the politics stream we found that the financial politics has high priority and there is a preference for incremental processes through coordination on all levels. In the policy stream we identi-fied that Vega has the competences, the capacity and a sustainable business model to be both a national scene and a development laboratory. In the policy process we identified the following policy entrepreneurs: Vega as a legitimate actor with authority. Vega is a meta gov-ernor with strong capacity to fusion art and business; Tænketank for Rytmisk Musik is a meta governor who is able to establish dialogue processes and create common worldviews; the arts council is a game maker who act as both a part of the political system and the Danish music environment; the music environment who generally is characterized by a low degree of integration and a dependency on single actor action; and the politicians in the cultural subsystem who we have identified as both policy makers and policy entrepreneurs. To make it pos-sible to create new policy outputs the actors is dependent on the policy window and the pol-icy window is identified to be couplings based on the national mood and a preference for incremental processes which are characterized by inclusion and the primacy of the financial politics. The policy process has not to this date resulted in any policy outputs. In chapter five the focus is shifting from the structures and processes to the actors. Here we will analyze actor coalitions and their ability to strategize the decision making process on gov-ernmental level. The analysis is based on Paul A. Sabatier and Christopher M. Weible’s Advo-cacy Coalition Model and the model’s theoretical foundation is network theory. We have identified three actor coalitions: The actors of coalition A have a national scene of rhythmic music as their policy agenda. Timing becomes the problem of this agenda. The policy makers and policy entrepreneurs, the political actors, are not willing to push the policy process fur-ther during the financial crisis because they thereby will loose political legitimacy. The policy entrepreneurs, Vega and The Danish Chamber of Commerce, do not posses enough authority and capacity to push the policy process further because of the political resistance. The actors of coalition B have a development laboratory as their policy agenda, and they achieved partial success in the policy process since the arts council has adapted their policy agenda as part of the arts council’s tasks. The coalition is week though because it has a low degree of mutual integration. Coalition C is one single actor who is opposing the idea of a national scene of rhythmic music because of the concept’s centralistic and elitist implications. In Chapter six we will reflect the development of the policy making process with a parallel process in Norway where a national scene for jazz has been established. Furthermore we will focus on the capacity, legitimacy and authority of the actors based on the three institutional schools: rational, sociological and historical institutionalism, on a background of the results of the analysis in chapter 4 and 5. Finally in chapter seven we conclude that the struggle that takes place in the debate for a national scene of rhythmic music is a policy area characterized by unclear preferences and therefore unclear goals. As a consequence of the financial crisis this struggle has now been replaced by a debate concerning a development laboratory as the legitimate answer to a new area of challenges.

EducationsMaster of Public Administration, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages116