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Institutionalisation of Political Parties: Comparative Cases. Edited by Robert Harmel and Lars G. Svasand

Art and Politics: Critique, Resistance and Ethical Witnessing

Political Violence
Critical Theory
Political Engagement
Political Cultures
Section Number
Section Chair
Kia Lindroos
University of Jyväskylä
Section Co-Chair
Taneli Viitahuhta
University of Jyväskylä

In the forthcoming ECPR General Conference 2019 we wish to discuss the role of art as a form of critique, resistance and ethical witnessing relationship between art, society and resistance by rethinking historical and theoretical traditions and strategies of political art to counter violence and oppression. As argued by for example Walter Benjamin, commenting the normalization of violence in 1930’s political and cultural climate, art is always "dreaming about politics". It is the positive potential embedded in the insight, which relates to the openness of thinking the role of art and its potential political significance.

In recent years, approaches examining the actuality of art’s critical vocation have made certain revival. From anti-capitalist activist art examining the structural violence of global liberal capitalism to resisting the rise of right-wing populism and a normalization of violence, there exists strong belief for art’s political efficacy in the forms of critique, resistance and ethical witnessing. These include bearing witness to scenes of violence and coercion, but also making visible and tangible more subtle mechanisms of power and control.

The topics of critique, resistance and ethical witnessing commenting various forms of violence are open to be reflected from various standpoints. What we wish to discuss is how art is often considered, both in historical and contemporary approaches, to open up a counter-space for different forms of violence by shaping our vision of life and 'reality’. Art plays important role in this process, as it not only "tells stories", but as well takes part in shaping the forms and frames of reference in narration. Art connects individual and collective memories with current situations; and invites its audiences' to active engagements with redefining contemporary conditions of politics and art by employing the human body and collective consciousness.

Panel List

Code Title Details
P013Aesthetics and Resistance View Panel Details
P367The Art and Politics of Transnational Memory Practices in Eastern Europe View Panel Details
P377The Ethics of Political Encounters View Panel Details
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