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Title: Art as democratic act : the interplay of content and context in contemporary art, London 2000-2006
Author: Elinek, Alana
ISNI:       0000 0001 3444 1662
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis proposes that art is one aspect of the public discourse which maintains or subverts the democratic society. Here the democratic society is understood as one in which freedom and equality are of paramount value, and where public actions that maintain these values of freedom and equality predominate. The importance of public action to the democratic society is described with reference to Arendt. Freedom is defined in this thesis, not through liberalism, but through existentialism (particularly Sartre and Spinoza as 'the father of existentialism') and equality is understood primarily through Levinas. Philosophical discussion around the concept of art and its definition is explored with reference to the London 'artworld' and defined through Dickie as a social phenomenon. A synthesis of these philosophical positions grounds the concepts within the phrase 'art as a democratic act'. The thesis analyses contemporary 'threats' to the democratic society through a focused study of the London artworld 2000-2006 with particular focus on Tate Modern which opened in 2000. Threats to the democratic society are understood through Deleuze and Guattari as those which create, and reproduce, hierarchy, fixity, repression, exploitation and servitude. Central to this analysis is a focused case study of the pressures of government funding and corporate sponsorship on Tate Modern. These may be understood as undermining a core commitment by the institution to democratic values. Other threats to the values of freedom and equality are explored in the analysis of the wider London artworld 2000-2006 and in practice-based research. The subtleties of the mechanisms of power are further explored through practice-based research with a particular focus on individual collusion, complicity and cooperation with mechanisms of power.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available