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Original scientific paper

Between Structural Stickiness and Developmental Opportunities: A Case Study of Cultural Centres in the Republic of Croatia

Ana Žuvela orcid id ; Institute for Development and International Relations, Zagreb, Croatia
Željka Tonković orcid id ; University of Zadar, Department of Sociology, Croatia

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page 303-329

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From the aspect of cultural policy and research in culture, there is a lack of knowledge and
understanding on how cultural centres function as multifaceted cultural institutions encompassing
their enmeshment and interconnection with the context within which they operate.
This involves approaches in governance and management that imply planning, programming
and financing, as well as networks of cooperation, community participation and relations with
public administration and founders. To that end, the research presented in this paper investigates
organizational paradigms, modes of governance and management of cultural centres thus
outlining their institutional logic and stickiness. The research design is based on an embedded
case study with three units located in disparate contexts of smaller and larger areas that share
the burden of the post-industrial and post-transitional legacy. The results of the research underscore
the structural circumstances and development possibilities of cultural centres, their
independence and their capacity in making decisions related to program orientation, financing,
conceptual framings and working conditions. The legal status and influence of the founders
in the development dynamics, directions and capacities of cultural centres are decisive in
relation to the contextal delineations as a distinctive quality of cultural centres. The disproportion
between structural limitations and development opportunities implies institutional inertia
and the failure of cultural policy in the specific normative framework related to the work and
activities of cultural centres. From the theoretical lens, the lack of institutional importance,
performance and social strength of cultural centres illustrate path dependency that starts from
the premise that the development of the institution is determined by the framework of cultural
policy at the time of its creation, which subsequently limits the possibility of choice of present
and future institutional performance and choice on the account of ideas, policy choices and
previous rules and structures created the institutions.


cultural centres; governance; path depedency; institutional stickiness

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