The participatory agenda: A post-critical, anticipatory intervention

Hjørdis Brandrup Kortbek, Charlotte Præstegaard Schwartz, Anne Scott Sørensen, Mette Thobo-Carlsen

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In this article we address the participatory agenda defined as outreach in Danish national cultural policies, tracing specificities to other Nordic and EU cultural policies as well (Bell & Oakley 2015). The article investigates the discursive link that these policies establish between participation, democracy and transformation, and argue that a range of paradoxes emerge once the agenda is translated at local cultural policy levels or by different institutions and adopted into daily practice. The thesis is that the agenda is a configuration of the “culture complex” as outlined by Tony Bennett (2013), which is to be understood as an “assemblage” of cultural apparatuses under the national policies’ reframing of “Bildung” as “participation”. We argue that that this complex has to be challenged in order for the participatory agenda to take a more – “radical” – democratic direction. Grounded in ideas of a “radical democracy” (Mouffe, 2014) and the “radical institution” (Bishop, 2013), respectively, we focus on key terms in the participatory agenda such as “access”, “agency” and “ownership”, and pursue a conceptual intervention in terms of a “post-critical”, “anticipatory” analysis and practice (Rogoff & Schneider, 2008). The intervention addresses three cases, illustrating three different cultural settings: a) non-profit, “free” art spaces b) the (art) museum, c) the so-called culture regions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalNordisk Kulturpolitisk Tidskrift
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)19-35
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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