Kulturstad/Stadskultur : Idéer om kulturens värden i Malmös stadsomvandling 1990–2012

Sammanfattning: This dissertation critically explores ideas about values of culture within the context of Malmö’s urban renewal (1990–2012). The story of Malmö’s development is typical of narratives about contemporary urban regeneration processes: Malmö is depicted as a crisis-ridden former industrial town which, through private and public efforts, is transformed into a dynamic urban centre within a knowledge-based, creative economy. This dissertation’s analytical framework focuses on how municipal texts and policy documents are imbricated in ideological meaning-production, particularly regarding the role of culture within the context of urban development. The analysis therefore approaches the field of cultural policy, where two complementary understandings of this field are utilized: the traditional, nominal sense, in which cultural affairs are explicitly addressed on the (local) state level; and a broadened sense, as an arena where implicit cultural policy-making happens via debates about the social and developmental value of culture. This holistic framework is developed through an analysis of rich empirical material (including texts and policy documents originating from both the explicit and implicit conceptualizations of cultural policy) emphasizing its role in the ideological meaning-production around Malmö’s redevelopment.The dissertation demonstrates that the ideas about values of culture within this context have not only been myriad, but have also been largely ambiguous. While some ideas took shape via consensus between different agents and political fields, other ideas were more contradictory, and instead expressed conflicting notions about what culture is, why it is valuable, and in which ways it might function as a resource in the city’s regeneration. This can be seen particularly in the shifting ways culture is characterized as valuable for both increased social welfare and for increased economic growth, which in the analysis is highlighted as part of wider-reaching patterns of ideological consensus as well as conflict within the urban regeneration process.

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