Italy As a Cultural Disneyland. the Marketisation Policies of Cultural Heritage within the Conceptual Framework of the Foundational Economy

Friday, 3 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW1.3.03 (Tower One)
Emiliano Bevilacqua, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy
Ferdinando Spina, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy
The paper explains the reasons according to which it is possible to consider the cultural heritage as an important sector of the Italian Foundational Economy. It also describes the process of marketisation of the Italian cultural heritage in its essential features. The management of cultural heritage plays a fundamental role in the Italian economy. To mention just two examples, employment in this sector grew by 0.8 % between 2007 and 2011, compared with a decline of 0.4 % per year suffered overall as a consequence of the current economic crisis. Moreover, the export of culture is worth over € 38 billion and corresponds to 10% of total national exports.

There is no doubt that this sector represents an interesting case study both for its economic importance both for its social significance: the Italian cultural heritage feeds the economy and, at the same time, shapes the daily lives and identity of people. The analysis of the marketisation policies of cultural heritage allows exemplifying the low intensity model of liberalism that characterizes Italy. Our assumption is that in this country cultural heritage is nowadays the laboratory for the application of neo liberal experiment. Although the protection of the cultural heritage is in the hands of the State, the last reforms have enabled forms of cooperation between public and private sector in order to promote cultural heritage. The national and European regulatory frameworks allow controversial phenomena of marketisation.

The paper aims, on the one hand, to analyse the mainstream narrative about the benefits delivered by the marketisation process of cultural heritage; on the other hand, to examine some cases in which the promotion of cultural heritage has involved the private sector, with particular attention to the management of the museums and the cultural foundations. These cases are relevant on the European level and they are examples of public-private collaboration.