Ministry of Culture or No Ministry of Culture? Lebanese Cultural Players and Authority

Nadia von Maltzahn

Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (2018) 38 (2): 330-343.

This article looks at the relationship of Lebanese artists and cultural players to state institutions, in particular the ministry of culture. Why do cultural players in Lebanon call for the state’s involvement in cultural production, while in most countries of the region they wish for less involvement? What is it that artists and cultural players who are not content with the status quo ask for? This article argues that artists and intellectuals look for state support of culture as long as it does not intervene in their artistic freedom, showing that this search is connected to the idea of citizenship and rights to culture. By looking at the debates around the establishment of a ministry of culture in the early 1970s and 1990s, this article sheds light on the formulation of cultural policies in Lebanon.

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