Cultural policy as rhetoric and reality: a comparative analysis of policy-making in the peripheral north

David O'Brien, Steven Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Any understanding of the relationship between place and cultural policy has largely been lost as part of a rhetorical critique of a neo-liberal regeneration which has, in turn, undermined the disciplinary basis of cultural policy. This has had particular consequences for our understanding of the impact of cultural policy in the peripheral north. Despite the political realities of geographical peripherality that still persist today there are very few examples of research designed to address the ways in which cultural policy has been operationalised as a means of bolstering peripheral political cultures. This paper presents findings from comparative research on cultural policy in Liverpool and NewcastleGateshead, with specific focus on the role of local government in cultural policy making, to show the importance of local political culture in shaping cultural policy. The intention therefore is to demystify the role of cultural policy beyond its value as a rhetorical policy device in a global economy to understand how such policy is used in practice to validate notions of the political particular. The aim is therefore to bridge the empirical gap between global and local assumptions about the role of cultural policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalCultural Trends
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • European Capital of Culture
  • Liverpool
  • Newcastle Gateshead
  • cultural policy
  • local policy making
  • political culture


Dive into the research topics of 'Cultural policy as rhetoric and reality: a comparative analysis of policy-making in the peripheral north'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this