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.
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)
'Artists of all stripes have been "doing" politics for a long time. Yet, there have been relatively few systematic interdisciplinary and cross national studies of this process. Banerji and Roussel provide us with an anthology that addresses this subject from multiple vantage points. This volume is certain to become a landmark text that moves the discussion forward in new and exciting ways.' - Mabel Berezin, Cornell University, U.S.A
'The arts take a step away from daily life only to step back in and imbue life with aesthetic charge. This book enriches our understanding of that process, asking how the arts afford and nurture forms of political action.' - Tia DeNora, Exeter University, UK