This authoritative study considers contemporary policies for the arts in France and the cultural and political issues they have raised. The author concentrates particularly on the seminal Mitterrand years but also disentangles the various influences which marked them. Analyzing the role of the ever more powerful Ministry of Culture, he traces the gradual shift from the democratization of high culture, adopted as a quasi-religious crusade during the De Gaulle era, to the aesthetic relativism and 'fun' culture which became the trademark of the department during the 1980s and 1990s. He also examines wider debates about the relationship between culture, society and the state.
David L. Looseley Professor of Contemporary French Culture, University of Leeds