Culture, Politics, and Democracy


The project asks for the significance of the arts, culture, and cultural politics for democracy: How can artistic and cultural productions stabilize and further develop democracies? How can cultural politics be evaluated from a democratic perspective? Which cultural policies are adequate for contemporary migration societies? The project is based on the assumption that processes of translatio/n take place between culture and the arts, on the one hand, and political thought and agency, on the other one. These translatio/n processes have effects on democracy.



Democracy is dependent on prerequisites it cannot guarantee by itself (Böckenförde). Equaliberty (Balibar) forms the most important value of democracy; however, for citizens to grant equaliberty to each other solidarity among them and loyalty towards the state is necessary, i.e. a form of collective identity is needed. In modern democracies, collective identity has been created by the construction of the nation for which culture plays a central role. Artistic and cultural productions are, on the one hand, understood as condensed representations of culture, on the other one, they are traditionally ascribed a central role for constructing and deconstructing communities as well as for presenting and processing conflicts. The (always precarious) freedom of the arts is an essential precondition to fulfill these functions.
This relation between democracy, culture, and the arts has continuously become more precarious in contemporary societies. On the one hand, the question arises in how far the construction of the nation still forms a suitable base of democracy in migration societies. Collective identities always and necessarily produce integration and exclusion at the same time. However, when collective identities exclude more and more residents of a state, democracy is endangered.
On the other hand, culture and the arts are increasingly used for other societal aims, above all, in the framework of the creative and cultural industries, for economic goals, such as employment or location competition. This development conflicts with the democratic functions of culture and the arts.

Insights and results of this project are presented in publications, lectures, and university courses, e.g.:
University lecture, Mokre, M., Kulturpolitik (each spring term since 2005 at the Institute of Cultural Management and Gender Studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna)
University lecture, Mokre, M., Cultural Politics (each fall term since 2015 at the UNESCO Chair in Interculturalism, Art Management and Mediation of the University of Arts, Belgrade)

Lecture, Mokre, M., Cultural diplomacy from below: Artistic projects with refugees and migrants. At: BITEF and Cultural Diplomacy: Theatre Festivals and Geopolitics (BITEF), Belgrade, 02.10.2016
Contribution to a book, Mokre, M., Kulturpolitik in der Demokratie, in: Jahrbuch für Kulturmanagement 2/2015.


Publications: Monika Mokre