This text outlines the ways in which contemporary trends - political, social and economic - give rise to public debates about policies concerned with culture. A range of theoretical issues are explored and three key arenas of contested regulation are discussed: sexuality, globalization and multiculturalism. Sexuality poses issues of control of representations, pornography and censorship. Globalization raises questions of national identity and cultural imperialism. Multiculturalism challenges existing models of cultural identity and citizenship. Through these three central cases, major contests around the public defining of culture, identity and difference are clarified.