Since the 1970s, cultural policy in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) has been based on core values such as decentralization, equality and participation. It has been characterized by a high level of governmental subsidies, mainly directed to the fine arts. The evaluation of cultural capital (in Bourdieu’s sense) never really changed. Cultural policy was seen as a natural part of the welfare state, and one of its main tasks was to find new audience groups, such as children.
In all five countries the national regulation of cultural policy is now being scrutinized. What happens with equal access to culture when decisions are regionalized? Today, cultural policy is often confused with Cultural Industry and Cultural Planning. These terms implicate a view of culture as something that should generate economic growth and branding. What happens, then, with culture as a possibility to express opinions that question and challenge society and social structures?