03 The Welfare State


What place does culture hold in a welfare society?

Javier Aparicio Maydeu

Many may feel, and not without reason, that it should supplement the creation of citizenship, contribute to our emotional balance, distract us from the stress caused by our work, increase our sensitivity, etc.

In any event, even if only for the sake of conceptual clarity, we need to distinguish between education and culture and between culture and entertainment, simply because education (academic or technical) need not be culture, nor need culture necessarily be directly associated with leisure.

A welfare society is assumed to enjoy a degree of harmony between production (work) and pleasure (enjoyment), and is also assumed to have a sufficiently comfortable economic position to allow its citizens to spend a part of their day listening to music, reading a novel, visiting an exhibition, taking part in a forum. In short, creating, imagining, storytelling, but also forming a judgment, adopting a critical attitude thoroughly furnished with solid arguments, born out of reading and knowledge, employing such worthy weapons as solidarity, ingenuity, fluid conversation and sensitivity in dealing with the vicissitudes of daily life.

A welfare society is not simply a society of economic welfare or social tranquillity, but is also, perhaps above all, a mature, sensitive, learned society, a society of culture made up not of individuals but of citizens.

Javier Aparicio Maydeu

Javier Aparicio Maydeu

Director of Publishing programmes at IDEC-UPF

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