Term Paper, 2005
19 Pages, Grade: 2,3
List of Abbreviations
1.2. Theoretical basis of the study
2. The German foreign cultural policy
3. Tasks of German NGOs
3.1. Tasks on a national scale
3.2. Tasks on the international scale
4. The influence of German NGOs on the foreign cultural policy
4.1. Cooperation between NGOs, the Foreign Office and its intermediaries
4.2. Taking influence through instructing and informing
4.3. Constructive criticism
4.4. Putting pressure
4.5. Exchanging experience
5. Summary and final comments
List of References
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In the last years the attention of society and the German media on the government’s foreign cultural policy has again been increasingly pushed into the background. Social problems that have emerged in other political fields most probably played a part in the dwindling popularity of foreign cultural policy.
Yet the government keeps emphasizing the importance of foreign cultural policy. According to the government, foreign cultural policy is „an integral part of the German foreign policy and fulfils, as a credible means of conveying Germany’s image as a cultural nation in the world and of promoting politico-cultural affairs at all international levels, purposeful and politically creative functions“.
Numerous non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are mainly financed through donations have emerged in Germany. They deal with special topics and try to attract as many members as possible within society to improve their chances of achieving their goals, to raise their efficiency and in the end to gain more influence in the fight against social problems.
According to Joachim Hirsch, NGOs are to be understood as voluntary associations which are non-State and non-party, non-profit as well as not oriented towards the interests of their members, which are non-discriminatory either in ethnic, national, religious or sexual terms. Since NGOs often result from existing interests within civil society and that their aim is to respond to these interests, they are also called social organisations (cf. Joachim Hirsch 1999: p. 3).
If this study is about NGOs, then it implies all NGOs which take an interest in influencing the government’s foreign cultural policy in order to achieve their own goals faster and better.
Therefore, NGOs on the one hand, and the government’s foreign cultural policy on the other hand, are not directly linked with each other.
Yet they have something in common. In both cases, these institutions reflect problems that may exist in society, attempt to reduce them or want to prevent such problems from arising at all in certain social and political fields, their ultimate goal being that of improving society’s quality of life (cf. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung 2003: p. 1).
In the entire political as well as social landscape, NGOs and the government’s foreign cultural policy are a small part of a vast dynamic system.
This common characteristics can not guarantee a complete separation between NGOs and government organisations, since in the cultural field, they can be temporarily interdependent when it comes to running joint projects (www.auswaertiges-amt.de).
This phenomenon subsequently leads to the question of whether NGOs can exert an influence on the German foreign cultural policy, in order to directly or indirectly achieve their goals in parallel. This shall be the central question of this study, which is to be answered using applied research and empirical facts.
According to Kingdon, government representatives, the legislative power and interest groups of a State form a political triangle that determines the overall political process. In Germany, the federal government, the Bundestag and German interest groups constitute a political triangle. The larger the national budget within the political triangle, the higher the need for specialisation outside this triangle, the more resources are required outside the triangle and the more opportunities other organisations and institutions have to take part in this political triangle (cf. John Kingdon 1995: p. 21f.).
Based on this theory from Kingdon, it is possible to formulate a hypothesis, among other things, which shall have to be verified in the course of the present study.
The greater the NGOs scope of action within the political systems, the earlier they can take part in the political triangle and the more influence they can exert on the German foreign cultural policy.
The following section furnishes a detailed explanation about which method is to be used to validate the hypothesis.
In order to answer the question raised above, section two begins with a short description of the position occupied by the German cultural policy within Germany’s political system. We shall also briefly address the financing of the Foreign Office’s cultural expenditures as well as of the intermediaries such as the Goethe Institute. This shall be followed by a detailed description of how the German foreign cultural policy is conducted within the political system in Germany.
After having described the tasks of NGOs in the national and international sector, we shall analyse whether there are potential opportunities, and if so which ones, for the German NGOs to increase their influence on the German foreign cultural policy with reserve as to the general considerations arising from section two and three. The results shall at the same time clearly illustrate the scope of action they have, so that a Statement finally be made as to whether the hypothesis of this study can be falsified or verified.
In Germany there exists a „cooperative cultural federalism“, which means that various political and public players contribute to the promotion and organisation of cultural life (cf. Uwe Andersen and Wichard Woyke 2003: p. 277). The European Union itself holds of rights of co-determination in the development of Germany’s cultural policy. This explains, among other things, why numerous agents with different competences participate in the cultural policy.
German towns and districts have an independent cultural mission for instance and can thus rely on the fundamental law (Art. 28, § 2) (www.kulturportal-deutschland.de).
Joint politico-cultural interests of large towns are represented above all by the German Cities Conference, which advises member cities and informs them through publications and also deals with longer-term projects in its special committees or supports through memberships in institutions and organizations. The German Städte- und Gemeindebund and the German districts convention act in a similar spirit for the rest of the municipalities (cf. Uwe Andersen und Wichard Woyke 2003: S. 278).
In Germany, cultural sovereignty of the Laender is clearly laid out. Indeed, according to the constitution, governmental actions and competences rest with the Laender, unless otherwise specified or authorized under the German basic law (Art. 30 of the German basic law) (www.kulturportal-deutschland.de).
In Baden-Württemberg, for example, the ministry of science, research and arts is responsible for all the colleges and universities of the Land, for a major part of the extra-curricular research facilities, for scientific libraries and archives, as well as for important arts facilities in Baden-Württemberg and conducts its cultural policy in these areas (www.kulturportal-deutschland.de).
 This quote stems from an answer from the German Government to a large enquiry in December 1996.
 Other sources: (cf. Daniel Janett 1997: p. 150).
 Refer to the slide in compact course „Foreign Cultural Policy“ .
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