Artistic Articulations in Cultural Policy-Making. The Constitution of Collective Actors between Politics and the Political.
The central goal of the dissertation is to sketch the relational a(nta)gonistic relationships of Berlin’s cultural protagonists. By means of semi-structured interviews, policy document analyses and participatory observation, I will examine how Berlin’s contemporary cultural policy is influenced by the articulatory practices of artist initiatives and organizations. Koalition der Freien Szene (KFS), a multi-disciplinary coalition of Berlin-based artists, founded in 2012, will serve as empirical case study to delineate the processes of collectivization, mobilization and political articulation amongst artists in Berlin, addressed towards the Senate for Cultural Affairs (SCA). How did KFS emerge and what are its potential impacts on cultural policy-making in Berlin? What (alternative) notion of Berlin’s cultural policy does the group articulate? What is SCA’s understanding and vision for Berlin’s cultural political future and what is the relation between the two notions? What differences does KFS display in contrast to other cultural protagonists such as Rat für die Künste (RK), Berufsverband Bildender Künstler (bbk) or Haben und Brauchen (H&B)?
Using a post-Marxist approach of discourse theory (Mouffe/Laclau, 1985), I will analyze the constitution of KFS as a political collective actor challenging the existing hegemonic order of Berlin’s cultural policy. The timeframe of the analysis ranges from January 2012 to present. By conducting semi-structured interviews with speakers (and engaged members) of KFS, representatives from other artist organizations (see above), I will flesh out how these activists perceive their engagement. In response to the articulatory practice of KFS, I will examine SCA’s cultural governance norms, practices and structures (Scheytt, 2008; Knoblich/Scheytt, 2009; Schmitt, 2011; Merkel, 2012; Grodach/Silver, 2013), behaviors, (re)actions and declarations of intent on the future role of culture in Berlin, also via interviews.
Furthermore, these insights will be embedded into an urban politics and discursive public policy analysis (Fischer, 2003; Hajer/Wagenaar, 2003). On the one hand, this analysis enables an enhanced understanding of the particular dynamics between cultural, political and administrative actors in Berlin’s art field, influencing the outcomes of Berlin’s cultural policy and its sources of dissent. On the other hand, within a post-Marxist understanding of hegemony, I seek to identify the materiality of discursive strategies and patterns of how artists call into question the dominant relations of power, thus potentially providing an example of emancipatory politics beyond institutions, constituting a moment of ‘the political’.