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Authors: Ana Žuvela and Željka Tonković

Journal : Sociology and Space, Vol. 61 No. 2 (227)

Publisher: Institute for social research in Zagreb

Year: 2023.

ISSN 1846-5226 (Print)
ISSN 1849-0387 (Online)


From the aspect of cultural policy and research in culture, there is a lack of knowledge and understanding on how cultural centres function as multifaceted cultural institutions encompassing their enmeshment and interconnection with the context within which they operate. This involves approaches in governance and management that imply planning, programming and financing, as well as networks of cooperation, community participation and relations with public administration and founders. To that end, the research presented in this paper investigates organizational paradigms, modes of governance and management of cultural centres thus outlining their institutional logic and stickiness. The research design is based on an embedded case study with three units located in disparate contexts of smaller and larger areas that share the burden of the post-industrial and post-transitional legacy. The results of the research underscore the structural circumstances and development possibilities of cultural centres, their independence and their capacity in making decisions related to program orientation, financing, conceptual framings and working conditions. The legal status and influence of the founders in the development dynamics, directions and capacities of cultural centres are decisive in relation to the contextal delineations as a distinctive quality of cultural centres. The disproportion between structural limitations and development opportunities implies institutional inertia and the failure of cultural policy in the specific normative framework related to the work and activities of cultural centres. From the theoretical lens, the lack of institutional importance, performance and social strength of cultural centres illustrate path dependency that starts from the premise that the development of the institution is determined by the framework of cultural policy at the time of its creation, which subsequently limits the possibility of choice of present and future institutional performance and choice on the account of ideas, policy choices and previous rules and structures created the institutions.

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