• Thomas Mellerup
Speciale, Kandidatuddannelsen
This thesis examines the use of culture as a means to achieve Danish foreign policy goals. The central concepts
discussed in this relation are Public Diplomacy, Cultural Diplomacy and Nation Branding. Public Diplomacy is
generally seen as a tool to achieve Soft Power, a concept describing how states can achieve foreign policy
goals by attraction rather than by economic and military force. Culture is seen as a powerful resource for
attracting foreign publics (hence Public Diplomacy) and it is in this line of thought we see the potential of
Cultural Diplomacy, as a tool to foster mutual understanding between nations through cultural exchange.
While advocates of this strategy emphasize two-way communication, Nation Branding is focused on
promoting positive aspects of a country using marketing techniques in order to stimulate investments,
tourism and exports, resulting in a one-way communication approach. Both concepts can, however, be
placed as subcategories of Public Diplomacy meaning that the existence of a Public Diplomacy unit in a
Ministry of Foreign Affairs says little about what kind of policy is implemented.
Looking at the deployment of these strategies in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs it becomes clear that
the interpretative expanse of Public Diplomacy has allowed the ministry to develop a discourse in which
culture is said to be of central importance, while economic support for cultural exchange has been continually
deprioritized. Where culture is deployed, it mainly serves a branding purpose. It can be argued that Cultural
Diplomacy is instead undertaken by a third party, The Danish Cultural Institute, even though they do not use
this term themselves.
Research in national cultural policy shows an increasing use of economic gain as a rationale for supporting
the arts in an age of priorities, in spite of lacking evidence that support of the arts should result a greater
economic impact than other areas of investment. This is similar to the Danish branding effort, which failed
to produce convincing metrics for measuring success. Another relevant aspect of cultural policy is the
construction of a shared national identity as a reaction to the advent of globalization. In branding a country,
however, national identity is presented in a generic way not as much in opposition the “the other”, as a
reflection of their perceived desires as “consumers”.
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