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City, Community, Nation, State

Participation and Spectacle

Judith Kapferer

The events and sites of a national holiday (17 May in Bergen, Norway) are the grounds from which to draw out meanings of nationalism and tradition, and analyze ideologies of egalitarianism and individualism in a social democratic welfare state. My project has two aims: to open up and deconstruct aspects of the material and symbolic life of the city, and to engage an examination of patterns of local and national community life in relation to shifting evaluations of localism and nationalism within the a changing state formation. Bergen can be thought of as a case study of social order and control, with women, children, and reverence for home life, highlighted in the town’s celebrations. The symbolism of the day discovers community and state in a difficult relation between domestic communities and nationalist ideology in the maintenance of governmentality, a relation mediated by the city itself.

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Introduction

The Arts and State Power

Judith Kapferer

The development of the arts as a collective modern phenomenon is intricately woven into its genesis in the milieu of princely Renaissance courts of varying size, complexity, and indeed grandeur that provided sustenance and shelter to artists of all kinds during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries (see Burckhardt [1860] 1990). The protection of artists was the province of aristocratic dynasties that could augment or rescind their patronage at unpredictable moments; nonetheless, as Elias (1993) makes clear, artists such as Mozart struggled constantly to maintain some kind of independence from their noble benefactors.

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Introduction

Images of Power and the Power of Images

Judith Kapferer

Symbols of power in diverse areas of public life surround us, from insignificant street signs and little-known corners to grand monuments and great buildings. Concrete expressions of abstract conceptions—churches (religion), seats of government (Parliament), railway stations (transport policy), shopping malls (commerce), and newsvendors (mass media), for instance—are regularly translated from these solidities into ideas, for the most part unthinkingly. Images of the control and ownership of public space in everyday matters have great significance in the conduct of human affairs—social, political, and cultural—and they dominate our generally accepted beliefs in the order of things. As we move through and around our work and leisure places, memorials, and construction sites, we rarely pause to contemplate the symbolic meanings of these spaces. Instead, we take the fact of their actual forms for granted, allowing for a glossing over of their symbolism. This is the force of the ‘social imaginary’ (see Taylor 2004), a phenomenon that will be explored in this issue as part of an ongoing examination of the relation between the arts and the state (see Kapferer 2008).

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Twilight of the Enlightenment

The Art Fair, the Culture Industry, and the ‘Creative Class’

Judith Kapferer

The complicity of the arts and the state in the mutual legitimation of corporate market practice is addressed in this critique of the so-called culture industries and 'Creative Class' of late capitalist imagination. The certification of the state-market couple as the dominant ideology of national, transnational, and post-national politics and economics is examined through an analysis of the Frieze Art Fair between 2006 and 2009. I contend that the decline of a culture-debating society and the rise of a culture-consuming society herald the waning of a habit of independent rationality and informed argument that characterized Horkheimer and Adorno's 'Enlightenment project'. The managerialist moment in the arts (as in education) signifies the diminishing status of culture as the cornerstone of an enlightened social formation.

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Constructing a Public Sphere

Materiality and Ideology

Judith Kapferer

The changing cultural and social significance of central city space generates and structures the social formations of capital today. Buildings and landmarks within the city of London are examined here as crucibles for the expression, symbolization, formation, and re-formation of the social orders of the city and the state. Here, the cultural power of state apparatuses to control and order the image and substance of capital and state is challenged by the arts of architecture and cityscape. The relation between public space and private practice is interrogated in locations such as the Square Mile, Trafalgar Square, and Hyde Park, which symbolize and concretize the social relations of the marketplace, the state, and the people. The experience of these places is iconic of the social formations of contemporary society.

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Ien Ang, George Baca, Rohan Bastin, Jacob Copeman, Thomas Ernst, Jonathan Friedman, Kingsley Garbett, Diana Glazebrook, Greg Gow, Keith Hart, André Iteanu, Roger Just, Bruce Kapferer, Judith Kapferer, Khalid Koser, Neil Maclean, Jukka Siikala, Amy Stambach, Christopher C. Taylor, Pnina Werbner and Amanda Wise

Notes on Contributors