Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 20

ARTS & INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS withdrawn because it considered it as not representative, as untrue to its country’s ideas or way of life” (Holmes 1959). These requests were respected and, as a result, some films which otherwise might have been included were left out. For the National Commissions then, the catalogue apparently functioned as a platform for national image building. Without deeper thought, it would be easy to address UNESCO as a purely political product, an instrument for the nation states. However, it is questionable whether a di- rect parallel can or should be drawn between the National Commissions and the nation states they represent. One of the key points that needs to be taken into account in this assessment is the fact that the Commissions consist of individual people, whose interests cannot be assumed to be confined by the state borders—let alone their identities. While the network of National Commissions mainly acts for the purpose of associating their governmental and non-governmental bodies with the organisation and pursues tasks set by their governments, they also function to provide a network of intellectual communi- ties across borders and link the organisation to civil society (UNESCO 2002). Interestingly, even though the primary actors within the UNESCO system are its Mem- ber States, international society in the UNESCO sense is not merely the traditional un- derstanding of a society of nation states. UNESCO presses us to place focus on the role that culture and shared moral ideas play in the construction of an international society. More importantly, it sets focus on the fact that international society as a functional con- cept presupposes elements of a world society. As the role of actors beyond the states level needs to be taken into account, the idea of international society in the UNESCO context needs to be understood in a wider and more diverse sense—encompassing ac- tors beyond the state. Thus, UNESCO, as a framework for an international society, can be understood in terms of Barry Buzan’s (2004) conception of the idea: An international society indicating situations in which the basic political frame of the international social structure is set by the states-system, while individuals and transnational actors are given rights by states within the order defined by international society in the traditional sense. To summarise, we can distinguish three major motives at play in the introduction to the catalogue: First, it functioned as a platform for national image building for the Member States; second, it was to promote the art of film; and third, it was to promote UNESCO’s objectives to build the foundations of peace in the minds of men through providing in- formation and educating, and to influence opinions accordingly. UNESCO, then, comes across as both a political actor and a platform for political action. The sometimes contra- dicting aims actually brought about a change in the direction the catalogue was steered towards: It is true that in the beginning we made the stipulation that films should be chosen for, or shown at, a festival. This was because our understand- ing was that the Survey was to be highly selective and only films of the best quality included in it. [ ... ] When we realised that a rather wider frame of reference was conceived by UNESCO, follow-up letters to all 20