Epilogue: Prospects for Policy Research in the Arts
This study of policy issues regarding multiculturalism and the arts has been rooted in one basic premise: that an integrated methodology of interpretive policy analysis and conceptual analysis, in recognition of the value--laden nature of policy formulation, can clarify the conceptual grounds for the adoption of policy goals and means. Through an interpretive analysis of documents that revealed the policy goals and means currently in place in state arts agencies, and a subsequent analysis of the value--laden concepts that underlie these goals and means, one primary conclusion emerged: Public arts policy should be rooted in the equal opportunity concept of justice and implemented through policies to ensure that the proposals of artists and arts organizations rooted in ethnic cultural traditions are reviewed by individuals qualified to make defensible judgments of the artistic value of these artists' work.
This conclusion is not rooted in the belief that research should always have direct effects on policy or that the aim of policy research is to reach some "scientifically best' solution to all policy problems. Instead, this conclusion is offered in the spirit of interpretive policy analysis. The aim here is not to contribute directly to any particular reform agenda but, instead, to generate thoughtful attention to the value assumptions that underlie debate about policy options in the arts and arts education, that is, to contribute to the quality of such debate. But what is offered here are not fixed conclusions, in that this study also reflects another value assumption of interpretive policy analysis, that the merits of policy prescriptions ultimately are to be debated through democratic processes involving those with interests in implementing a policy and those potentially affected by its adoption.
It was stressed at various points that an integrated interpretive policy analysis/conceptual analysis methodology to study policy issues has many potential benefits, most notably, that it can help to clarify the conceptual grounds for choices about policy goals and means. But another point was also emphasized, namely, that the relative dearth of available data on numerous aspects of arts and arts education virtually necessitated use of