• PhD Liene Ozoliņa Latvian Academy of Culture, Institute of Cultural and Arts Studies, Latvia
  • Anda Laķe Latvian Academy of Culture, Institute of Cultural and Arts Studies, Latvia



cultural participation, arts consumption, social solidarity, social inequality, ethnic groups


In 2017–2021, Latvia celebrated its centenary with a wide-ranging cultural programme. The Centenary programme was announced as “the biggest event in the history of modern Latvia” providing 22.3 million euros over three years for more than 800 festive events “to strengthen the spirit of nationhood and a sense of belonging amongst the people of Latvia, and to promote collaboration and self-organization within the community” [Ministry of Culture 2020]. In this paper, we explore the ways in which this cultural policy initiative worked as a form of social solidarity building in the Latvian society, where there is a large Russian-speaking community. We are interested in examining the public’s participation and perceptions of the Centenary cultural programme, focusing specifically on the differing patterns and effects in the Latvian and Russian-speaking communities. The analysis draws primarily on a representative survey, designed and conducted in the autumn of 2021 by the authors as part of a larger research project. The survey was designed to enable analysis of the perceptions of the Centenary programme, participation and consumption patterns among different social groups and cultural communities, and experiences and perceptions of social solidarity (or lack thereof) in the context of the Centenary programme. The survey has provided new data on the links between cultural and arts consumption practices in an ethnically diverse society, as well as on the perceptions of effects of arts consumption on social solidarity and sense of belonging. On the basis of quantitative analysis of the survey data, we study the patterns of cultural consumption and its social impact, given the ethnic diversity of the society in question. We explore, firstly, how cultural and arts consumption is influenced by ethnic belonging and, secondly, how the effects of this consumption differ among ethnic groups. Based on this empirical analysis, the paper contributes to the wider, ongoing interdisciplinary debates on cultural and arts consumption, societal diversity and inclusion. Furthermore, the paper offers a novel approach to exploring, both theoretically and empirically, the effects of cultural and arts consumption on social solidarity.

Supporting Agencies
This research was funded by the Latvian Ministry of Culture, project “Cultural Capital as a Resource for Sustainable Development of Latvia”, project No. VPP-KM-LKRVA-2020/1-0003 and by the Latvian Science Council, project “Culture and the arts as a source of social resilience in societal crises: The case of cultural industries in Latvia”, project No.


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