Social Resistance and Everyday Life: Forms of Civil Society in the Arts

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (13 October 2023) | Viewed by 5368

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Education, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Brixen, Bozen, Italy
Interests: critical sociology; social theory; art as social criticism; social processes; active citizenship; social and cultural dynamics of coexistence in multicultural contexts

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In his work Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Gregory Bateson introduces the question of order and disorder by publishing the dialogue with his daughter Cathy, where she is concerned with "order" and "disorder" in the world. As she says, “Dad, why do people always get other people's things wrong?” He replies, “Well, it's not as easy as it might seem. At first what does "disorder" mean?” (Bateson, 1972).

If we take the opportunity to observe social reality in its making, we cannot fail to realize that the concept of order does not fall within human capacity tout court but is the result of a process of interaction, as well as that of creativity.

However, when an artist manifests universal meaning in a new way, we are enchanted. The ideas of both order and creativity are the result of a dynamic that, ultimately, immensely exceeds the human capacities that generate it. But there are moments in history in which change is possible through an intervention of creativity, a change in perspective on reality and its internal dynamics. Innovation is the result of this creativity. The change as a result of innovation is not given as a mere adaptation to new events, as we can also experience today with immigration or war, but, on an individual level, it is the ability to anticipate the experience by resorting to a re-elaboration of the same individual experience into a wider and more general experience—I would say universal—thus transforming every type of reaction to the new into a real “other”. Creativity is a way of thinking, otherwise called "divergent thinking", but not only that: creativity is an act that gives birth to something that was not there before (Popitz, 2000). In other words, Adorno thought that in contemporary society, creativity or the arts could have been the only way out to the rational society. And today, we can say that it is more than that: it is the capacity that only human beings have of "das Seiende auβerhalb seiner selbst als ein Anderssein, als eigenartiges So-Sein zu erfassen" (Popitz, 2000).

From this point of view, this call invites all reflections of sociology of the arts in terms of the social meaning of artistic work, which is its possible social function both in terms of the reflexivity of social research and in terms of social theoretical perspectives, as well as the analysis of artistic manifestations. Arts as active forms of civil commitment and creativity often operate as more effective social criticism than other intellectual démarche.

 Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Social theory and the arts;
  • On creativity and its social function;
  • Arts as social resistance;
  • Arts and democracy;
  • Arts and social change;
  • Arts and well being;
  • Arts, society and digitalization;
  • Arts and civil engagement;
  • Arts and memory;
  • Arts and urban strategies;
  • Artistic forms as a way to recapture community and solidarity.

Prof. Dr. Ilaria Riccioni
Guest Editor

Please send abstracts to Ilaria Riccioni () by 16 July 2023.

Feedback about the abstracts is projected to be returned by 6 August 2023.

Complete papers are expected to be submitted to this website by 13 October 2023.

The revision and publication period is aimed to be from October to December 2023.

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Keywords

  • arts
  • civil society
  • democracy
  • social resistance
  • digitalization

Published Papers (5 papers)

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19 pages, 3722 KiB  
Article
The Museum as a Laboratory: An Approach to the Experience of Public Museums in Chile
by Marisol Facuse Muñoz and Raíza Ribeiro Cavalcanti
Soc. Sci. 2024, 13(2), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci13020090 - 31 Jan 2024
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Abstract
The present article analyzes the recent debates regarding the redefinition of the museum, exploring resonances in reflective practices and processes in public museums in Chile. While these have caused controversy and discord, they appear to converge in the need to rethink the relationship [...] Read more.
The present article analyzes the recent debates regarding the redefinition of the museum, exploring resonances in reflective practices and processes in public museums in Chile. While these have caused controversy and discord, they appear to converge in the need to rethink the relationship between museums and society, seeking to make them more inclusive, democratic and diverse. The present discussion is based on the preliminary results of “LAB_Museums: Contemporary Museums and Museologies”, an ongoing interdisciplinary research intervention model promoting processes of co-production of knowledge regarding museums and museography. This paper is the publication of the results of the project. To this end, a collaborative ecosystem of knowledge has been developed between the university, museums and public sector, based on the implementation of laboratories, initially, in five public museums of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Chile: the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Historical Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Popular Art Museum and the National Center of Contemporary Art. The theoretical/methodological framework used was that of Institutional Analysis (IA), based on which interviews and discussion groups with museum professionals promote dialogues on the present reality and contemporary challenges of museums. Full article
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9 pages, 243 KiB  
Article
Endless Exile—Alain Resnais’s The War Is Over
by Mauro Luiz Rovai
Soc. Sci. 2024, 13(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci13010053 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 768
Abstract
This paper aims to analyze the movie The War Is Over (La guerre est finie—France/Sweden, 1966, directed by Alain Resnais and a screenplay by Jorge Semprún). The idea is to point out a possible sociological discussion on exile, mobilizing the notion [...] Read more.
This paper aims to analyze the movie The War Is Over (La guerre est finie—France/Sweden, 1966, directed by Alain Resnais and a screenplay by Jorge Semprún). The idea is to point out a possible sociological discussion on exile, mobilizing the notion of mental images. The methodological approach is an internal analysis of the film to allow for the elaboration of sociological considerations along with the expressive elements of the film construction. To do so, we shall focus on the “leaps” within the movie’s narrative order, in which a main character (Diego) anticipates, through imagination, a series of sequences and events that might or might not have occurred. To discuss the notion of mental images and their relationship with the imaginary, the theoretical reference will be Cornelius Castoriadis’ book The Imaginary Institution of Society. This article will benefit from the discussions in the presentations about the film both at meetings in Brazil and at the last ISA Congress 2023 (International Sociological Association—Research Committee 37—Sociology of Arts). This text is one of the results of research supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). Full article
15 pages, 328 KiB  
Article
Sharing Art as a Daily Resistance Strategy in Madrid during the 2020 Lockdown: 50 Days of Collective Experience at the Plaza de San Bernardo
by Laia Falcón
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(11), 608; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12110608 - 01 Nov 2023
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Abstract
The manner in which individuals worldwide shared art during the most challenging months of the COVID-19 pandemic stands as one of the most significant instances of creative social resistance in recent history. As a collective tool of resistance against emotional trauma, and as [...] Read more.
The manner in which individuals worldwide shared art during the most challenging months of the COVID-19 pandemic stands as one of the most significant instances of creative social resistance in recent history. As a collective tool of resistance against emotional trauma, and as a means to foster a sense of community and well-being, the study of this phenomenon offers a compelling avenue for research into creativity and its social functions. This paper presents a descriptive case study of a successful 50-day collective experience within a neighborhood community in Madrid, Spain, during a period when the city, as a notably exceptional case study for research, bore one of the heaviest burdens of COVID-19 in the world. Data were gathered through in-depth personal interviews and direct observations. Applying a connected approach drawing on the fields of the Sociology of Art and Media Studies, three key findings emerge: (1) participants emphasized shared live artistic performances as the primary catalyst for fostering a sense of community, collective resilience, and overall well-being; (2) their sense of togetherness was further bolstered by digital and media support, as recordings of live performances were shared with loved ones living elsewhere, as well as with journalists and on social networks. This network of communication played a pivotal role in connecting individuals; (3) the combined efforts of both initiatives contributed to the development of a more positive individual and shared narrative surrounding the crisis. Full article
16 pages, 2691 KiB  
Article
“The Truthfulness Lies in the Process, Not the Outcome” Using Artistic Practices to Further Truth-Telling and Memorialization in the Philippines
by Tine Destrooper
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(9), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12090516 - 15 Sep 2023
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Abstract
The Philippines have never known a unified state-sanctioned narrative about the violence that happened during the Marcos dictatorship. In order to resist ongoing disinformation campaigns that seek to erase evidence and memories of past violence, various institutional and civil society actors are currently [...] Read more.
The Philippines have never known a unified state-sanctioned narrative about the violence that happened during the Marcos dictatorship. In order to resist ongoing disinformation campaigns that seek to erase evidence and memories of past violence, various institutional and civil society actors are currently initiating interventions in the domain of truth and memorialization. Notably, artists, curators, and creative professionals are engaging in various kinds of so-called ‘narrative documentation’ and ‘narrative change-making’. Several of these initiatives mobilize spatial dynamics and co-created processes to facilitate more complex forms of truth-telling and memorialization, which foreground complexity and ambiguity, and which prompt more engaged forms of truth-listening. This article zooms in on a specific project that mobilizes traditional artisan and artistic techniques and forms to revisit women’s experiences of historical and ongoing violence by crafting layered and ambiguous narratives about harm. In doing so, the Weaving Women’s Words on Wounds of War project seeks to further memorialization, truth-telling, and truth-listening about gendered violence. Through an analysis embedded in scholarship on memory, truth, and artistic practice, I argue that it is the generation of ambiguous and complex narratives that invites an active and relational type of engagement and listening. This holds potential for resisting the erasure of complex forms of violence, both in the context of the Philippines, as well as in other contexts where truth or memorialization initiatives may be incapable of capturing the gravity of lived experiences of violence or of facilitating genuine listening. Full article
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16 pages, 344 KiB  
Essay
Coping with Permanent Liminality: Social Understanding and Action through Theatre in Late Communist Hungary
by Arpad Szakolczai
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(12), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12120652 - 23 Nov 2023
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Abstract
Theatre is the modern liminoid equivalent of ritual liminality, according to Victor Turner. It is also, like most arts, a Janus-faced phenomenon: on one hand, it is a way to systematically infect the public with mimetic desire and rivalry (this is the aspect [...] Read more.
Theatre is the modern liminoid equivalent of ritual liminality, according to Victor Turner. It is also, like most arts, a Janus-faced phenomenon: on one hand, it is a way to systematically infect the public with mimetic desire and rivalry (this is the aspect emphasised, quite rightly, by Plato and René Girard); on the other, it also enables the public expression of views about the contemporary state of social and political life that otherwise would be difficult to speak about, or even censored. As an example, this article will turn to the 1970s in Hungary, when the communist regime had become much softened, though at the same time generated the impression, in everyone, that it would last forever. More concretely, it will first shortly present and analyse the quite unique story of the Kaposvár theatre, which during the decade changed, through a peculiar combination of ‘liminal’ factors, from a boring provincial spectacle to the number one theatrical event of the country, avidly followed by students and intellectuals, especially from the capital. An epilogue is devoted to the masterly article by Elemér Hankiss, the most important and influential intellectual living then in Hungary who became, for a time, the consensus president of the Hungarian Television after the collapse of communism. It exposes the infantilising character of communist power by analysing a series of theatrical performances staged in a leading Budapest theatre in the late 1970s. Infantile adults are evidently caught in a permanent liminality, so Hankiss shows how theatre indeed was a main instrument in diagnosing the worst aspect of life under communist rule, its permanent liminality, reinforcing uncertainty and hopelessness. Full article
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