History of Cultural Policy

The project covers a period of 120 years, from the mid 1850s to the end of the 1970s. It aims at explicating the changing role of public authorities (the state and municipalities) as financers of artistic and cultural life and as suppliers of public or publicly subsidised cultural services. The development of different policy measures and the ground given for their legitimisation are analysed separately for different stages of the development of the national culture and the Finnish nation-state. The research focuses on the interaction between the formation of cultural policy and the nascence and institutionalisation of the Finnish arts and culture. More specifically, the central theme is how the conceptions imbedded in cultural presentation about the Finnish nation and the Finnish nation state and the perceptions of cultural policy decision-makers and administration of the role of the arts and culture in shaping Finnish society have shaped each other. This interaction is looked at against the backdrop of the birth and development of art associations and cultural organisations, especially what varying political and ideological stances they have taken and invoked and how they have influenced the balance of power in cultural policy decision-making and in contestations between artistic orientations and cultural trends.

Project is financed by the Foundation for Cultural Policy Research.
The project is implemented by a research team (under the direction of Anita Kangas, Professor of Cultural Policy, with researchers Sakarias Sokka and Minna Helminen) and an advisory board with members Kalevi Kivistö (the chairperson), Director General of the Finnish Ministry of Education, Paula Tuomikoski and Risto Kivelä, Government Advisors from the Ministry of Education, Professor of Sociology Risto Alapuro, University of Helsinki and Professor of General History Seppo Zetterberg, University of Jyväskylä.


  • Kangas, Anita, Professor
  • Sokka, Sakarias, Junior Lecturer
  • Helminen, Minna, Researcher
  • Loisa, Raija-Leena, PhD, Researcher


  • Sokka, Sakarias (2007), "A Sociohistorical View of Cultural Policies." Nordisk kulturpolitisk tidskrift 10:2, 60-81.
  • Sokka, Sakarias & Kangas, Anita (2007), "At the Roots of Finnish Cultural Policy: Intellectuals, Nationalism, and the Arts", International Journal of Cultural Policy 13:2, 185-202.
  • Helminen, Minna (2007), Säätyläisten huvista koko kansan taiteeksi. Cuporen julkaisuja 13. Cupore: Helsinki.
  • Sokka, Sakarias & Kangas, Anita (2006), "From Private Initiatives towards the State Patronage", Nordisk kulturpolitisk tidskrift 9:1, 116-137.
  • Sokka, Sakarias (2005), Sisältöä kansallisvaltiolle: taide-elämän järjestäytyminen ja asiantuntijavaltaistuva taiteen tukeminen. Cuporen julkaisuja 8. Cupore: Helsinki.