Over the last several years we have witnessed that Europe and its cultural metropolises have been challenged in terms of their identity formation and their role concerning cultural diversity issues and social inclusion. In this respect, culture and cultural institutions perform several functions. First, one relates to the representation of nation and national identity within the nation state. Second, function pertains to the commodification of culture whereby cultural heritage is exploited as a tourist attraction. Third, function concerns the program for social inclusion and integration of various groups of citizens and immigrants. Briefly, cultural institutions and organizations can be said to be in the grips of economic, social and nationalistic instrumentalization. On the one hand culture plays an important role in fostering the image of diversified and multicultural Europe in which culture transcends boundaries and connects people across different cultural milieus. Yet, on the other hand, culture is also a vehicle for boundary-building that contributes to a European image of exclusiveness and differentiates it from other communities. Moreover, this ambiguous function of culture makes visible the expediency of culture as a source of satisfying the needs of the cultural tourism industry whereby the national cultural heritage becomes a source for economic exploitation.
These ambiguities and contradictions become very obvious in larger European cities, such as Vienna. Even though a cultural metropolis, such as Vienna, disposes with institutional structures that support co-existence of diverse national cultures, this becomes problematic when confronted with the position of cultural practices of the immigrant workers and communities. We shall therefore explore, through the lens of the cultural life in Vienna, the contradictions that arise from the juxtaposition of the institutional practices and policies supporting cultural tourism and recently introduced new policies of city government called Immigrant Mainstreaming [‘Migrant Mainstreaming’].
This summer school will provide students with an overview of the Viennese cultural system, its institutional design and its cultural practices as well as its governmental and urban specificities. We will meet arts managers, policy makers, artists, theorists and educators, and attend various cultural events, from performances to exhibitions and concerts.