The Unifying Aspects of Cultures


Media and cultural aspects of civil society

Nina Obuljen (Department for Culture and Communication, Institute for International Relations (IMO), Zagreb)
The role of civil society in the policy-making process: Examples of cultural policy-making in Croatia

Policy analysis recognizes among others, two opposing approaches to decision-making: the rational approach which assumes that decisions emerge from decision-maker's search for the most effective means of achieving policy goals; and the incrementalistic approach which presupposes that a compromise must be achieved between different actors who often have conflicting goals and priorities (Hague, Harrop, Breslin 1998). Depending on the approach adopted, the role of civil society representatives differs. Still, in contemporary democratic societies, it is hard to imagine any form of decision making process that does not take into consideration opinions and notions from the civil society, expressed either through individual involvement or on an institutional level.

Through analysis of a few examples of cultural policy decision-making in Croatia, this paper will look at the role of civil society as well as the influence it has in this process. It will look at the adoption process of new pieces of legislation, and particularly at the communication with executive and legislative bodies in that process. It will also look at the role of professional organizations and their elected representatives in the distribution of grants and evaluation of artistic achievements.

The principal goal of this analysis is to look at the way in which public authorities and representatives of civil society interact and cooperate, and in addition to asses the role of civil society in policy-making process.