European postcolonialism and cultural policy in the Mediterranean: an assessment of Malta and a comparison with Tunisia

How is postcolonial behaviour perpetuated through cultural means? An assessment of cultural governance in Malta reinforced through a brief comparison with Tunisia illustrates how former European colonial practice influences current policy addressing culture in one European Union (EU) and one non-EU Mediterranean territory. This paper argues that the deference the EU has shown towards the principle of subsidiarity together with its focus on the generation of cultural and creative industries aiming for economic growth and employment have hindered European cultural development by impoverishing the nurturing of cultural critique and expression. Similarly, outside the EU, market interests, including those related to tourism, have outweighed non-economic social ones.

This paper argues that in doing so, current practice has entrenched postcolonial practice by favouring cultural control by government elites through policy and economic means. This has taken place at the cost of a critical and developmental approach that benefits cultural and social actors outside immediate economic or politically-advantageous contexts.

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