A major issue in the relation of art to the rest of society is the question of how art penetrates politics. From the perspective of most art scholars, this is a question of aesthetics—whether politics necessarily pollutes and debases the quality of the arts. From the perspective of social science, it has been primarily a question of meaning—how political messages are conveyed through artistic media.
Recent work has begun to broaden the study of the arts and politics beyond semiosis and content focus. Several strands of scholarship are converging around the general issue of the social relationships within which art takes political form, that is, how art and artists do politics. This perspective of "doing" moves analysis beyond addressing the meaning of culture, to focus on the ways that art is embedded in—and intervenes in—social relationships, activities, and institutions.
This volume brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars from France and the United States to investigate these directions and themes by exploring the question of "how to do politics with art" from a comparative standpoint, putting sociological approaches in conversation with other disciplinary prisms. It will be of interest to scholars of social movements and politicization, the sociology of art, art history, and aesthetics.
Table of Contents
Introduction (Violaine Roussel and Anurima Banerji)
1. Composing Workers (William Roy)
2. ‘Singing for a Cause’: Music and Political Mobilizations in Contemporary France (Lilian Mathieu)
3. How Activist Plays Do Politics (Bleuwenn Lechaux)
4. Nrityagram: Tradition and the Aesthetics of Transgression (Anurima Banerji)
5. ‘Social Cinema’ & ‘Civic Debates:’ The Politicization of Films through Festivals in France (Audrey Mariette)
6. Movie-Star Politics On and Off the Screen: Harry Belafonte, Jane Fonda, and Warren Beatty (Steven Ross)
7. How Hollywood Agents Do Politics (Violaine Roussel)
Afterword, A Filmmaker’s Perspective: On Ways of Viewing: Notes on the Making of Kamakha, Through Prayerful Eyes (Aparna Sharma)
Violaine Roussel is Professor of Sociology at the University of Paris 8, France, and Affiliated Faculty at the University of Southern California, USA.
Anurima Banerji is Assistant Professor of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA.