The main report of the Commission on Culture can be described as an organizational extreme makeover with great artistic and ideological consequences which the Commission sneaks around.

sa Lindeborg, Aftonbladet 2009-02-13

Read and listen

Ett illa skrivet och illa tnkt hastverk
Magnus Eriksson, DN 2009-02-17

Find out more

1. Litteraturutredningen
(SOU 1974:5 Boken)

Prop. 1975:20 Statlig kulturpolitik 2, bet. 1975:KrU12, rskr. 1975:201

2. 1982 rs bokutredning
(SOU 1984:30 LS MERA!)

Prop.1984/85:141 om litteratur och folkbibliotek

3. Boken och kulturtidskriften
(SOU 1997:141 Boken i tiden)

Prop.1997/98:86 Litteraturen och lsandet

4. Kulturutredningen (SOU 2009:16)
Del 1 Grundanalys
Del 2 Frnyelseprogram
Del 3 Kulturpolitikens arkitektur

Hard Rain    No 36    February 18, 2009
The contented smile of an investigator
Government subsidies for publishing is going to be thoroughly changed. The system has been around for a very long time, says Keith Wikander, Secretary in the Commission on Culture. As if that would explain it all.
The Commission on Culture has presented its proposals. They appear at the same time as devastating fires ravage in Australia. The harrying of the investigators have a lot in common with these catastrophes. Cultural activities, subsidies and authorities have been levelled with the ground. Almost nothing of all that has been constructed over decades of brain work and devotion is spared, most of it is ruined. That is if the proposals are accepted!

Lets take an example, and quite a symbolic one. Government subsidies for literature are about to be altered. Applications will be judged in regard to economic need. At the same literary quality and cultural policy will be relevant factors. Woolly formulations, one must say. Qualified interpretations are needed to understand the meaning of this.

Why do you want to change the system of subsidies for literature? The question is directed to Keith Wikander, Secretary in the Commission on Culture, in Swedish TV1 (Cultural News 090213). the answer is astounding.

It has been around for a very long time. It has been there since 1974. It was introduced in order to support the publishing houses, following a crisis for publishing at that time. After that the system has been left alone. We dont know what effects we get if it is removed or changed. The only way to find out is to do that and see what happens.

He just sits there, smiling right into the camera. But he can not laugh away his lack of historical knowledge and his arrogance. Sad as it is, Wikanders attitude seems to be representative for the efforts and proposals from this commission over the whole field of cultural policy.

  Subsidies for literature, 1975 style, were never intended to be a support for the publishing houses. The subsidies should ensure that the individual citizen has access to a broad range of qualified literature independent of trade conditions. It has definitely worked out very well.

The subsidies have not just been left behind. During 30 years the rules have been analysed and evaluated with short intervals, leaving the basic principles intact. The big Commissions on Books in 1982 and 1996 have confirmed that the expectations put forward when the reform was introduced have been fulfilled. The subsidies for literature has become an integrated and important part of a well thought-out venture for literature and reading.

How do you solve the proposed scrutiny of economic need? On this question Wikander turns away:
We have not chosen to make detailed proposals. We leave that to further investigations. There is this general idea to have a common support for literature and library questions

And priorities according to cultural policy? Wikander is really gallant on this one:
To make priorities according to cultural policy is nothing else but to ascertain that you get as much good literature as you can ever have.

Instead of solving important problems in a tradition of good investigations this commission attacks a well functioning system of subsidies, and slaughters the basic principles without inventing something new. Who will pick up the broken pieces of subsidies for literature left by the Commission on Culture?