The Republic of Austria (Österreich) is made up of 9 Bundesländer(federal provinces). The total land area of 83,335 sq. km. is inhabited by 7.8 million people (1993). In 1981, 67 per cent of the population lived in towns, while the Province of Vienna was 100 per cent urbanized. Lower levels of administration include Bezirks(districts) and local communities.
Austria's central geographical position in Europe has been responsible for many changes over the centuries, as well as for various political, cultural and economic influences coming from the rest of Europe.
For more than seven centuries (1273-1918) Austria was ruled by archdukes, emperors (including an empress) and kings. The First Republic lasted from 1918 until Anschluss in 1938. The basis for the Second Republic is laid out in the federal constitution of 1920, the State Treaty of Vienna and the Constitutional Law on Permanent Neutrality. The Constitution provides for a parliamentary democracy.
The Austrian economy reflects two principal factors: the country's attractive landscape and culture and abundant raw materials on the one hand and its highly trained and skilled labour force on the other. The latter is of particular significance and is reflected also in some of the basic cultural policy issues.
Austria belongs among nations whose identity is significantly determined by culture. Furthermore, it stands at the edge of a dominant economic and linguistic area, which necessarily makes its cultural policy the policy of identity and its culture the central factor in identifying positive national awareness.
The federal cultural policy took a new turn in the 1970s. The awareness of the need for a coherent cultural policy in Austria, followed by the governmental practice of arts promotion, has been growing since then. Although there is a great deal of traditional culture in Austria, various new forms began to appear during the last decades. At the same time, efforts were made at the federal and provincial levels to replace individual promotion measures with a coherent promotion policy, backed up by pertinent research.
Aware of the "negative" side-effects of the instrumentalization (i.e., commercialization) of culture during the 1970s and 1980s, when culture was quided by the media and touted under the motto "culture for everybody," the Austrian cultural policymakers now focus on the intermediary levels whose objectives are to mediate and disseminate policy instruments: decision-making, organization of activities, financing, research, documentation, etc. This kind of change has been called the "change of paradigms." For this purpose, special autonomous agencies have been established to bridge the gap between cultural research and cultural policy which characterized the 1970s and early 1980s.
The Austrian cultural policy concept implies the notion that the production, distribution and consumption of cultural goods are subject to economic laws of the market place which cannot be expected to regulate themselves in the interest of both the market value and of cultural ideals. The introduction of this concept was followed by a debate on denationalization in the early 1980s, which triggered a discussion on privatization of all forms of art and culture. At the same time, the debate on sponsorship and patronage became more and more dominant.
Both tendencies (economic enterprise and private administration) are institutionalized in the Constitutional Law. The provisions assigning the responsibilities for arts and cultural policy are contained in Article 152 of the Austrian Federal Constitution. The so called General Clause (Generalklausel) stipulates that all matters of culture not specifically excluded fall under the jurisdiction of the Provinces (Länder). The exceptions are the protection of monuments, federal theatres, and federal museums. (Article 15 of the Austrian Federal Constitution states: "All matters in which the legislative and executive powers are not expressly reserved to the federal state by the federal constitution shall fall within the competence of the provinces.")
The Austrian Federal Constitution also stipulates that any assistance given by the Federal Government must be administered by the private enterprise administration. This is interpreted to mean that in rendering assistance to art and culture the State may not, at least formally, support single individuals. Thus, the practice of private economic administration in the field of art and culture is gaining a legal and governmental backing.
For administering its diverse cultural scene, Austria relies on its federal political structure. With regard to an all-Austrian cultural policy, there is no competence of the Federal Government. The only exceptions are federal theatres, which are the competence of the Federal Ministry of Education and Sport (Bundesministerium für Unterricht und Sport) and federal museums and protection of monuments, which are the competence of the Federal Ministry of Science and Research (Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung).
Particular attention needs to be paid to the cultural policies of the nine (9) Bundesländer . The bodies responsible for cultural affairs in the provincial governments have full competence over all spheres of cultural policy other than the exceptions mentioned in Article 15 of the Constitutional Law. The Provinces undertake cultural action not only in those fields for which they are responsible according to the governmental regulations, but also in fields in which the central government has its responsibility, such as the protection of monuments, science and research. The legal form is that of private economic administration, which is in no way constrained by the regulations of the Austrian Constitution.
All affairs between the federal government and the Provinces are co-ordinated by the so-called Verbindugsstelle (Co-ordinating Agency), with its permanent address at the provincial government of Lower Austria. In addition to these contacts, there are regular meetings of the Kulturreferenten (officials responsible for cultural affairs in the Provinces) and of executive administrators. The meetings take place twice a year.
Apart from the federal and provincial competences for cultural affairs, the vast majority of cultural activities in fact take place on the level of communities in urban and rural areas. Practical co-operation between regional and local authorities is more or less limited to the funding of performing arts institutions. The only undertaking of this kind with a statutory basis is the Salzburg Festival. Other major festivals (Bregenz Festival, Carynthian Summer, Styrian Autumn, etc.) also depend on the co-operation of the federal state, federal provinces and local communities, but without any statutory basis.
Two bodies co-ordinate municipal activities on this level: Austrian Towns Federation (Österreichischer Städtebund) and Austrian Communities Federation (Österreichischer Gemeindenbund).
Generally, there is no co-ordination between non-governmental institutions and government authorities. However, certain exceptions occur mainly in the field of cultural adult education, where co-ordination is achieved through the Standing Conference of Adult Education Institutes in Austria (Konferenz der Erwachsenanbildung Österreichs).
Here is a partial and highly selective list of some of the most significant cultural institutions.
There exist all-Austrian associations for various branches of cultural life, such as the Austrian Association of Composers (Österrechischer Komponistenbund), Austrian Graphic Designers' Association (Bund Österreichischer Gebrauchsgraphiker), etc. Much of the Austrian cultural life takes place in various kind of clubs and associations. Approximately 5 per cent of the total population are integrated into these institutions and more than 60 per cent of the existing clubs and associations have cultural aspirations.
All three levels of authorities (federal state, provinces and municipalities) are involved in the promotion of culture, with each of them allocating a certain proportion of its budget to culture. The respective budget laws define the purposes for which the individual ministries can use the amounts allocated to them. Expenditures for cultural purposes are primarily made by the Federal Ministry of Education, Arts and Sports, the Federal Ministry of Science and Research, and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The only other fiscal measure is an extra contribution in addition to radio and television fees. This money is used by the Federal Government for clearly defined cultural purposes. There is also an array of prizes, fellowships and other supportive measures.
The major items of cultural expenditure of the federal provinces are differently structured and the provinces use different terminology, so that comparisons of the funds spent on culture are not possible. Expenditures on culture and the arts include not only those budget items that are specifically labelled as cultural items but also various expenditures hidden among other budget items.
The sums given in Tables 1-4 represent the aggregate public expenditure for the arts in Austria according to the Unesco Framework for Cultural Statistics. The appropriations in the field of culture so defined at all three levels amounted to 4.7 billion Austrian schiilings (AS) in 1976; for 1991 this figure was in the area of AS 15.4 billion. This 1991 figure was 3.25 times higher than the amount of public funds spent on the arts (according to the same definition) in the first year of this comparison. The increase in the field of culture was faster than in the total amounts of money available for public expenditure as a whole in the same years. Given such financial trends, it has to be stated that the analysed period was the time when growing importance was attached to cultural policy matters in Austrian society in general.
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Table 1 shows the dynamics of arts policy in Austria based on the total sum of all public expenditure -- federal, provincial and municipal. Because of the rich federalist tradition of the Austrian political system, this brief analysis presents an evaluation of cultural policy efforts on the different levels and comparisons between them. The most remarkable fact in Table 1 is that, in the period 1976/91, the funds from the regional state governments and local governments increased much more than the funds from the central government. Taking the capital, the city of Vienna, as a state, a very similar conclusion is reached. On average, nearly four times more was spent on cultural policy matters on the provincial level in 1991 than 15 years before. The same comparison on the federal level shows an increase of less than three times.
Table 2 shows the share of government funds in the total public funds for the arts in Austria over the last 15 years. The main and most striking feature of this Table is a very sharp increase of involvement and commitment on the provincial government level in cultural policy matters. In a period of only of 15 years, the share of funds provided by the nine provincial governments increased on average by 5%. Because of the stagnation in the amount of funding from the local government, there was a corresponding decrease of 6.5% in funds from the federal government. Taking the level of funding provided for culture and projects in culture as an indicator of the ability of the government authorities to influence cultural policy activities and actions in Austria, a reduction of the relative power of the federal government is obvious over the last 15 years. This was counteracted by a growing awareness and involvement in cultural policy at the provincial government level. In this respect, Table 2 indicates the change in the real financial power of the three levels of government structure. The point of reference, the 100% sum in Table 2, is the total aggregate sum of all public expenditure on the arts in Austria.
Table 3 provides some background to the government's priorities for culture over the last 15 years. It shows the real preferences of the existing political systems with respect to the importance of arts policy matters within their general budget ceiling. Table 3 compares the three levels of the federal state in Austria in this respect. It follows from Table 3 that the strongest support for the arts comes from the municipalities. The figure given in the table is an average figure calculated for all of the 2,301 Austrian municipalities, and it needs to be stressed that there are some municipalities far above the average. Comparing the share of different levels of government in the total public expenditure for culture, we notice that the highest percentage is provided by the local governments, followed by the provincial governments. The lowest share comes from the federal government.
At first glance, Table 3 clearly confirms the above judgement, but the evaluation becomes even more striking when the element of international comparison is introduced into the analysis. This relatively high share on the provincial government level in Austria is almost unique in Europe if comparison is made with other countries in which the federal state plays an active role in cultural policy. Countries like Switzerland and Germany are centralistic states, in which foreign cultural policy, overseas representation, etc. are fully centralized.
It has to be pointed out that the figures given for the provincial government level represent the average share in the nine politically independent provinces with their, independent bodies of policy decision-making. The differences between the provinces are considerable, and since they all operate within the same federal structure, comparisons among them are of special interest. Valid conclusions about the efficiency of different cultural policies always depend on the general cultural policy framework. These differ a great deal from one European country to another. But, comparing the constituent states of one country (for example, Austria), this framework remains the same. Therefore, such comparisons within one country are an excellent way to develop our tools and methods for cultural policy evaluation. One single Austrian province comparied to another province can serve as a model under ceteribus paribus conditions [ED: other things being equal].
Table 4 shows the share of the central government's cultural expenditure in detail. The whole interval covers the policy program and the periods of service of three very different governments (one-party government and two types of coalitions). The clearly recognizable trend over the whole period is a steady decline in the percentage of the federal budget devoted to culture. In in 1968, the share stood at 1.032%, the highest point recorded within the analyzed period. It then fell to 0.896% in 1988, but from that year on it showed a rising trend, reaching 0.951% in 1991.
in Austrian schillings
in Austrian schillings
To clarify the situation in Austria further, it is necessary to develop other aspects of analysis and pinpoint many different kinds of indicators. Apart from analyzing budgets in the context of budget structures, another field where points of reference can be established is the size of the population, in order to get per capita indicators. These can be total budget figures and cultural budget figures from the federal and the provincial level and from the municipalities, then figures relating to different spheres of culture, etc. Having previously dealt with analysis of small share figures and slight variations in time sequences, the situation for the per capita figures is quite different. In total sums, for instance, per capita appropriations for the arts (on the federal, provincial and local levels) were about AS 1,388 in 1989, compared with the total per capita sum of public appropriations for that year of about AS 106,000.
Taking only the federal government figures, AS 745 was spent per capita in 1990, compared with AS 300 in 1976. There is considerable variation in the per capita total expenditure on culture among the provinces. The state (city) of Vienna devoted AS 1,251 per capita to culture in 1990, while Lower Austria, the province with the smallest per capita figure, spent only AS 411 for that purpose in the same year. However, the greatest differences in per capita spending are found when analyzing the situation in the municipalities. The 1989 per capita spending on the arts in Innsbruck was AS 1,361, in Salzburg (city) it was AS 1,098, in Eisenstadt (capital of Burgenland) AS 129; the average per capita amount for the municipalities in Burgenland was AS 61. Since public spending on the arts is also a suitable instrument indicating regional differences in the level of supply, the information presented here is of great importance for cultural policy setting and evaluation purposes.
On the non-governmental level, there are various associations and institutions financially supported by the federal and provincial authorities, e.g., the Austrian Crafts Council. Several Austrian banks have established special foundations for the promotion and support of artistic creation. The maximum corporate relief for donations is 10% of the previous year's taxable profit.
An attempt to take stock of the prevailing legal regulations in the cultural sector in Austria is impeded by two factors:
Austria is a federal state with relatively independent provinces; this independence is reflected in the assignment of responsibilities for cultural matters to the provinces.
The Austrian Federal Constitution does not explicitly mention art and culture, and cultural legislation at the federal level exists only for the protection of monuments and for broadcasting. Statutory provisions regulating the cultural sector have not been laid down in the comprehensive Cultural Act either, nor have they been systematically collected. Instead, numerous statutory rules need to be examined in order to cull the explicit or implicit provisions that they contain with respect to the cultural sector.
The legal foundations of the Austrian cultural policy are derived from the following acts and regulations:
There is still no law on cultural statistics.
About 50 per cent of the provinces have passed Provincial Promotion Laws (Landesförderungsgesetze) covering the entire cultural spectrum.
Archives, libraries and museums in Austria are separately organized on the federal and provincial levels. An example of an organization at the federal level is the Austrian State Archives (Österreichisches Staatsarchiv), comprising five federal archives. In the field of protection of monuments, there is a two-tier structure. The Federal Office of Monuments (Bundesdenkmalamt) is attached to the Federal Ministry of Science and Research, while the Provincial Conservators (Landeskonservatoren), charged with the practical implementation of the policy on monument protection, are attached to the provincial governments.
The statistics of the basic subsidies granted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Arts show that the difference in the treatment of the performing arts (drama, music, festivals, and film), on the one hand, and the creative arts (literature and visual arts), on the other, is quite substantial and tending to widen further. In 1982, the amount earmarked for drama, music and festivals (excluding state theatres) was increased to AS 273 million, while the amount for visual arts has remained unchanged for many years. This stagnation (decline) is best illustrated with the amounts spent on art purchases by the state, which have remained practically stable for 15 years (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Comparison of basic subsidies according to Government Arts Reports 1970/71-1982
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Source: Bontinck, Irmgard. Integrative Evaluation of Cultural Policies: Aspects of Harmonisation of Policy Measures Affecting Culture in Austria. Mediacult-Unesco, Vienna-Paris, 1988, p. 21.
The following figure shows the differences in cultural expenditures by the federal, provincial and local authorities for different cultural and artistic activities.
Figure 2. Cultural expenditure by the federal and provincial authorities and local communities with up to 20,000 inhabitants in 1980 (broken down by categories receiving subsidies)
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Source: Bontinck, Irmgard. Integrative Evaluation of Cultural Policies: Aspects of Harmonisation of Policy Measures Affecting Culture in Austria. Mediacult-Unesco, Vienna-Paris, 1988. p. 110.
Considering the Austrian cultural tradition, special attention is paid to musical culture. This fact is best reflected in the growing number of subsidies (grants to individuals, promotion of projects, "promotion-in-kind") given to contemporary composers.
In Austria one needs to differentiate between art and music education on the primary and secondary levels and on the level of higher education. The curricula for primary and secondary education provide for two periods a week for art/music education. The Academies of Fine Arts, Music and Performing Arts (Kunsthochschulen) provide training for artists as well as for art educators. On the federal level, the training of personnel for cultural action is carried out by the Institute for Cultural Management (Institute für Kulturelles Management) at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Teaching and training is geared mostly towards the postgraduate level in order to train managers for artistic and cultural organizations and to improve professional standards in this field. The training of animators on the provincial levels is carried out by provincial institutions
The total public subsidy for literature amounted to AS 39.3 million in 1987. The most substantial share of public aid for literature came from the federal government: 76 per cent; regional subsidies amounted to 18 per cent, and those provided by the city of Vienna, 6 per cent.
The federal grant for literature is allocated as follows: support for books 5.5 per cent, support for periodicals 5.5 per cent, subsidies for associations and events 34.5 per cent, subventions and premiums 9.5 per cent, prizes 5.2 per cent, and an endowment to the Authors' and Translators' Benevolent Fund 42.5 per cent. Significant portions of such funds are not directly connected with the book publishing industry. Rather, the Austrian authorities stress the importance of support authors and other accompanying measures to develop book publishing activities.
The titles published under the publicly financed "school textbook program" are not included in the general statistics of book publishing activities in Austria. In 1992/93, 3,939 titles were produced within this program. The total amount of public subsidies for this program in 1992/93 was AS 9.7 billion.
All cultural industry sectors in Austria are private except for radio and television broadcasting. The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) was established by a special law and is financed directly from subscription fees and indirectly from the federal budget.
The cultural tasks to be fulfilled by radio/TV are defined in the Broadcasting Act (1974), which contains detailed program requirements. The principles derived from the law underly all programming activities and clearly imply a cultural and artistic mandate. It seems that a public corporation which is non-profit oriented can fulfil this mandate more easily than a private broadcasting company which draws its income exclusively from advertising revenue. The existence of a public corporation financed primarily from radio and television licence fees is therefore of great importance within the Austrian cultural policy context.
Direct assistance to dailies and weeklies, under the 1975 law on press promotion, is granted almost automatically by the Federal Chancellery to newspapers meeting the following conditions: that they are published and produced in Austria, that they have a circulation of at least 5,000 copies, that they employ a certain minimum number of professional journalists, that they appear at least once a week, and that they primarily report news. The subsidy reimburses the newspapers for 60 per cent of the paid turnover tax, 20 per cent of the paid transport rates and 20 per cent of the paid telecommunication costs. In 1987, 18 daily newspapers and 60 weeklies were allocated the total of AS 85.3 million.
Public support for the cinema, photography and video is essentially provided by the federal government, as only 18 per cent of all subsidies paid in 1986 were made available by the provinces and municipalities. Public support in these sectors amounted to approximately AS 85 million in 1984, 61 million of which was allocated as direct assistance. Video production received only a very small proportion of such funds.
Apart from the sharing of costs for cultural institutions, cooperation among the regional and local authorities, has developed in the field of cultural research. Ever since the first nation-wide survey on the cultural behaviour of the Austrian population was launched by the federal state in 1974, cooperation in the field of research has intensified. Cultural studies initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education, Arts and Sports have substantially increased in number since 1980. The most recent changes in the area of cultural development and cultural research came with the establishment of the Österreichische Kulturdokumentation - Internationales Archiv für Kulturanalysen and the stressing of "networking and mediating" of various cultural data and statistics.
As regards participation in cultural activities, the trends of the last twenty years can be summed up as follows (Figures 3, 4, 5, and 6 give the statistics):
Selected data on cultural activities of the Austrian population, 1972-1989, showing percentages of respondents reporting participation in each:
Source: "Cultural Activities of the Austrian Population: 1972-1989," in Participation in Cultural Life in Europe: Current Trends and Future Strategies, European Round Table on Cultural Research, Moscow, 1991, pp. 2-8.
Cultural relations with foreign countries fall within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Ministry is the supervisory body controlling 10 Austrian culture institutes in foreign countries. In addition, 13 missions have their own culture and press officers. Cultural activities abroad are also organized by the embassies, cultural institutes and consulates. There is no institution in Austria comparable to the British Council or Germany's Goethe Institute.
The sub-regional cooperation with the neighboring countries is the responsibility of the Provinces (Länder). The sub-regional cooperation within the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Alpenländer (The Alps Countries' Working Group) involves provinces in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy; the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Alpenländer-Adria (the Alps-Adriatic Working Group) brings together provinces in Austria, Italy, Germany, as well as the Republics of Croatia and Slovenia; finally, sub-regional cooperation also takes place within the Hexagonale Affiliation.
Austria has bilateral cultural agreements with most neighbouring and European countries and a few outside Europe.
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This monograph is based on data received from the Culturelink Cultural Policies Data Bank, and on documents collected by the Documentation Centre for Cultural Development and Cooperation, Culturelink, in Zagreb, Croatia.
The original draft, written by Tomislav Car, has been revised by Mr. Franz-Otto Hofecker, Institut für Kulturelles Management (IKM), Wien, and Mr. Harald Gardos, National Commission for UNESCO, Austria.