Curating Resistances: Ambivalences and Potentials of Contemporary Art Biennials
The idea of enabling resistant narratives to neoliberalism through dialogical and participatory works, steadily informs the agenda of perennial large-scale exhibitions of contemporary art (biennials) around Europe and the world. Somewhat paradoxically, the proliferation of such shows since the early 1990s depends on this very neoliberal model that values culture for its measurable outcomes. By discussing such predicaments of the “biennial phenomenon,” this article lays out its ambivalences and potentials within the current political–economic context. Moreover, through looking at the case of the 7th Berlin Biennale (2012), a controversial exhibition that prioritized activism and the “real effects” of art in society, the article suggests that such biennial complexities could be better addressed through ethnographic methodologies.
Cultural festivals are considered in the article as events providing a system of services to various interested parties - stakeholders. By setting examples of historical re-enactment festivals and a cultural event "Night of Museums" a diversified structure of available services and a potential of their management development for tackling specific regional socio-economical issues are argued.
The aim of this article is to study an influence of various cultural festivals in St. Petersburg on development of the creative industries in the city. The definition of prospects of the development of culture of «Russia’s Northern Capital» demands the analysis of an existing scientific and administrative discourse concerning interaction in a city on Neva the rich cultural heritage and new creative industries. The situation of St. Petersburg as а large European cultural center and one of the important cities of the Russian Federation allows to define prospects of its development as «creative city». It includes also the analysis of cultural, social and economic consequences of the development of festival movement.
The British socioemotional economy is marked by a tension between cosmopolitan humanitarian sentiments and the denial of sympathy for geographically close, but socially distant, strangers in need. The essence of this tension can be captured by the Dickensian notion of 'telescopic philanthropy'. A proper understanding of this tension would benefit from examining both short-term and secular trends - proximate and distal causal mechanisms. The paper is not explanatory in nature, but aims to generate sensitizing concepts, while at the same time seeking to steer the altruism, morality, and social solidarity literature towards a more active engagement with history, power, and ideology.
Drawing on the case of Russia’s post-Soviet education reform, the paper explores the interaction between borrowed reformatory solutions and culture codes in the process of neoliberal educational modernisation. Through the examination of the concept of ‘commercial service’ the article shows how bottom-up societal resistance is maintained and normalised in the real-life language of the reform debate among policy-makers, teachers, parents and the general public. Building on policy-as-discourse studies, the analysis unpacks specific conceptual frames behind societal interpretation of educational commercialisation. The article finds that the public debate is stalled by an extreme polarisation and a seeming intractability of such conceptual categories as ‘money’, ‘commerce’, ‘moral upbringing’, and ‘the soul.’ It further argues that instead of mediating borrowed and domestic social meanings, the official reform narrative serves to strengthen the polarisation of opinions, while leaving under-conceptualised a number of important links between market values of competitive individualism, material profit and entrepreneurship and domestic values of egalitarianism, collegiality, moral education and non-materialist values. The article concludes with a discussion of the role of the state in transmitting borrowed policy ideas to the public and the interplay between grassroots resistance and national education policies.
The article considers integration processes in various art forms and media sphere. The development of different communication systems demonstrates that the syncretic unity is destroyed by the inner urge to release the individual components in separate systems. On the other hand, in the isolated structures arises a desire for syncretism, which is often accompanied by the development of its destructive tendencies. The resulting synergetic effect leads to startling outcomes which, obviously, should be related to the most promising areas of contemporary art and media space.
The second publication of the international art center Kunsthaus Bregenz Arena (Austria).
Russia has been experiencing the results of an acute economic crisis since 2012. However, the government has not been explicit in its declarations regarding austerity policies. On the contrary, it tends to represent its measures as "normal" and generally justifies cuts to public expenditure and reduced spending as part of a new understanding of the welfare state and socio-economic relations. Nevertheless, there is a clear connection between the crisis and the introduction of conservative discourse and the "traditional values" concept that targets gender equality both in public and private domains.
The Russian case study is exemplary and didactic. As Russia is new to market economics and has never developed a consistent neoliberal agenda, the shift to conservative ideologies came unexpectedly easily. Gender has become a battleground for the government to fight over social problems and austerity measures. Unlike the EU countries, the Russian government does not hesitate to challenge human rights and gender equality, easily shifting the blame to leftist ideologies – primarily feminism – that are held responsible for family instability and the poor state of demography and health. Using the concept of "traditional values" as a cover for increasing austerity measures, the government relies on short-term strategies. However, this shift to conservative public discourse has not been readily accepted by the Russian population, least of all by women. There is clear resistance from various social groups, including women. This resistance is not just taking the familiar form of public protests (although they have been taking place as well), but rather in the form of withdrawal from public space to minimise dealings with the state, a strategy familiar from the Soviet experience of resistance. Therefore, on the surface, Russian public discourse seems to be dominated by officially promoted ideologies, but this does not mean that society just accepts or even implements those ideologies eagerly.
At the same time, there is a clear tendency to follow supranational austerity measures by cutting public spending, amending social security policies, privatising care, and forcing women to return to the double-burden situation in the Soviet-type social contract by openly attacking feminist ideologies, gender equality, and human rights. In this situation, Russian NGOs, especially those with a human rights and gender-sensitive agenda, need more subtle strategies to deal with public policies, starting at the local government level.
Several approaches to the concept of fatherhood present in Western sociological tradition are analyzed and compared: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The problematics of fatherhood and men’s parental practices is marginalized in modern Russian social research devoted to family and this fact makes the traditional inequality in family relations, when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to that of mother, even stronger. However, in Western critical men’s studies several stages can be outlined: the development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), the emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the approach of biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a model for his ascendants. Social constructivism looks into man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and establishing hegemony over a woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with social, cultural and personal context. It is shown that these approaches are directly connected with the level of the society development, marriage and family perceptions, the level of egality of gender order.