Power and Policies in and by the Arts - Introduction

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksOtherResearch


The introduction to this book sketches the sociological preoccupation with concepts of domination and power in society. The following chapters discuss (a) the power of social structures on the arts and (b) the power of the arts on social structures. The newer terms for understanding these interactions come from postcolonial and intersectional sociology, as inequalities in the arts arise from multiple and interwoven processes of discrimination. Sociological analyses of the arts seek to uncover these power-laden processes, deconstruct established structures, and recognize artistic practices as practices of power. In doing so, it is important to distinguish between power and domination. Either the arts are dominated by rulers external to the arts and their institutionalized structures, or the arts are able to turn the tables and exercise domination via their legitimacy advantage, for example by shaping taste. The politics of cultural production, on the other hand, must be examined as a relationship between power and the arts. The breakdown of the book is presented with chapters in three sections, “Establishing and De-establishing Power in the Arts,” “Arts and the Power of Social Structures,” and “Arts and the Dominance of Political (Dis)Order.” The reciprocal perspectives of “power in the arts” and “power through the arts” are presented through a two-dimensional model whose first dimension is characterized by “domination versus power” and whose second dimension is characterized by “structural constraint versus volitional agency.” All the articles can be placed in this coordinate system of domination (structure) and power (agency), regardless of whether they stand for negative (hegemonic, totalitarian, unjust) or positive (egalitarian, grassroots, balancing) social purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArts and Power : Policies in and by the Arts
EditorsLisa Gaupp, Alenka Barber-Kersovan, Volker Kirchberg
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationWiesbaden
PublisherSpringer VS
Publication date11.2022
ISBN (Print)978-3-658-37428-0
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-658-37429-7
Publication statusPublished - 11.2022

    Research areas

  • Cultural studies - Arts and political strategies/political structures, Power through the arts, Power over the arts