In Search of the Third Canon, or Cultural Policies of the Third Republic of Poland (1989–2020)
Culture in Poland after 1989 was managed with two different approaches. In the last decade of the twentieth century and in the beginning of the twenty-first century cultural policy was based on the dogma of self-financing culture. The second period was initiated by the right- wing government in 2005 and is still current politics. Here, cultural policy is based on the dogma of the self-sufficiency of national values. Both concepts result from the belief that the canon is empty but with different implications. In neoliberal practice, everyone has the right to have their own canon, while each canon matters only insofar as it leads to success in life. For a right-wing party, the canon should express national, not classical, values. In the first concept, culture is doomed to rapid commodification, in the second to nationalization. In the first period, culture was granted independence on the condition that artists earn their own living and, moreover, the bond-forming role of culture was neglected. In the second period, the state provides financial support to culture, but limits funding to nationalist initiatives, hence censoring expressions of independent art. The question to be asked: is there a third canon?