Integration by Interpellation: The European Capitals of Culture and the Role of Experts in European Union Cultural Policies


  • Many thanks to Tanja Börzel, Thomas Conzelmann, Desmond Dinan, Wolfram Kaiser, Thomas Risse, Kenneth Weisbrode and the journal's reviewers for very helpful remarks on earlier versions of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.


Kiran Klaus Patel

Department of History

Maastricht University

PO Box 616

6200 MD Maastricht

The Netherlands



In analyzing the European Capitals of Culture programme, this article argues that transnational experts have had a large impact on this flagship of European Union (EU) cultural policy by forming a close-knit advocacy coalition with official EU actors. Most recent developments, however, have added a new dimension. The Commission has now developed a subtle technique of governmentality focusing the programme more on its ‘European dimension’. The article discusses this evolution and the role of transnational actors, the limits to integration intrinsic to culture as a policy domain, and the attempts of both official actors and experts to work around such constraints.