Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Contemporary Culture in the Crisis of Social Cohesion

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.06.00  Humanities  Culturology   

Code Science Field
S210  Social sciences  Sociology 
sociology of culture, social cohesion, cultural processes, cultural dimension of globalisation
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (4)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  15334  PhD Marija Breznik Močnik  Culturology  Head  2007 - 2009  259 
2.  06308  PhD Josip-Rastko Močnik  Culturology  Researcher  2007 - 2009  599 
3.  12630  PhD Igor Škamperle  Sociology  Researcher  2007 - 2009  810 
4.  21347  PhD Ksenija Vidmar Horvat  Culturology  Researcher  2007 - 2009  548 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  98,836 
The project will investigate processes in the field of culture, main cultural agents and their practices in three Slovene cities (Ljubljana, Maribor, Koper), on the background of an analysis of the cultural processes, trends and transformations in Slovenia, and with a comparative scanning of the situations and transformations in three neighbouring cities – Trieste/Trst, Graz/Gradec, Zagreb. The research will be conducted in the perspective of general global and particularly European processes, in the view to determine the potential of Slovenia and, comparatively, of the adjacent regions in the global competition; and to analyse the chances they have under their present (or, eventually, adequately modified) cultural policies. The cultural sphere, as it was constituted in the early modern Europe, is presently undergoing dramatic transformations under the impact of contradictory processes. Both its internal articulations and the ways how cultural practices connect with other social practices are rapidly changing within the global social restructuring. If, in the early modern Europe, differentiated and heterogeneous local processes resulted in the same general outcome, the constitution of an autonomous sphere of culture – in the present, increasingly homogeneous global processes seem to produce radically different, even contradictory local cultural effects. If, in the 15th century, the emergence of "culture" was a non-capitalist condition of the triumph of capitalist economy – its present "dissolution" may well indicate the irruption of cultural practices into the heart of capitalist economy as a condition of its next cyclical transformation. In the contemporary situation, human resources, together with enabling social relations of cohesion, figure as the most important productive factor of valorisation of capital. What may seem as a mere extension of market economy towards the domains that have traditionally been withdrawn from it (social services and, within them, cultural activities and their products), may well be their affirmation as the key factor of the new capitalist economy. What seem to be mere conflicts over the distribution of profits (intellectual property rights, cultural entrepreneurship…) or battles over the symbolic power (national cultures vs. global cultural industries, creative industries vs. traditional cultural hierarchies etc.) may well be aspects of a major global struggle over the most propulsive resources of production (as were, in various epochs of the past, struggles over the control of markets, natural resources, sources of energy). Under these particular tensions and conflicts, a new geopolitical map of the world is being created. Even the most innocent governmental decisions over the support of seemingly marginal cultural activities may have major long-term strategic effects. The project will integrate aspects of research that have been until now investigated separately.
Significance for science
The research examined a critical moment in the historical transformation of cultural sphere that is presently undergoing dramatic transformations under the impact of contradictory processes. Empirical research (collection of statistical data; analyses of documents; interviews with main social agents – cultural administrators, cultural workers, representatives of state and independent institutions, media…) covered a Central European region and comprised four countries (Austria, Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia) and six cities (Trieste, Graz, Zagreb, Maribor, Ljubljana, Koper). Sociological analysis of empirical data introduced »bottom up« perspective with contemporary global processes and historical transformations on the horizon. Studies (published in books, reviews and on the internet site of research project), help to understand heterogeneous local conflicts within homogeneous global processes taking into consideration contemporary irruption of cultural practices into the heart of capitalist economy as a condition of its next cyclical transformation. Research reports significantly contributes to better analyses of cultural practices by integration of aspects that have until now been investigated separately: 1. cultural practices in local, regional, and national contexts; 2. cultural economy in the frame of cognitive capitalism; 3. cultural policies and their processes of restructuration and deregulation of cultural sphere; 4. varying juridical regulation: institutional regulations of cultural organizations and copyright system. Research involved sociology of culture approach that examines concrete practices and processes, while field works’ conclusions are analyzed by analytical theoretical tools that have been produced through conjunction of various research topics and approaches. In this way new concepts were produced, as “economic socialization”, "social histrionism" and "anti-museum", or concepts from other disciplines were introduced, as "specific" and "general scepticism" from anthropology. Research articulated a position towards contemporary “cultural turn” in the humanities. We defined it as an attempt to expand cultural theory towards general social theory, as an attempt to seize common social themes and to become general social theory. We identified it as “cultural determinism” that postulates its analytical object, culture, as its subject (Mulhern). In research work, “culturalism” proved to be a constituent part of neoliberal depolitisation of social relations, disintegration of society in general and dissolution of social meaning of the arts (see article »L'Oubli épistémologique«, reports on visual art and performing arts as well as two articles by Boris Buden and Borislav Mikulić, published on the research project’s internet site http://www.ff.uni-lj.si/fakulteta/Dejavnosti/ZIFF/BREZNIK/default.htm). An important aspect of research work was “scientific dialogue” afforded through invitation of various experts to write commentaries on research reports. All research reports and commentaries are published on the internet site where they are accessible to the public. Many of reports were already published in the book “The Culture of Danaian Gifts” and in other reviews/books; the rest will be published in the book “Contemporary Culture in the Crisis of Social Cohesion” in 2011.
Significance for the country
The central research problem was the restructuration of Slovene cultural sphere, of its practices and institutions with a comparative scanning of the situations and transformations in the region that assess upon potentials in Slovene culture in the regional and world context. The overall outcome of the research determines the elements in the cultural potential of Slovenia that remain insufficiently, or not at all, mobilised. The findings indicates the sufficiency-insufficiency of present trends, and offers suggestions about the ways how to strengthen the country's efforts, with particular attention to the possible advantages of co-operation with adjacent regions. Research reports investigated types of connection between culture and economy showing the relativity of the idea about the importance of culture for economic growth. But the importance of market regulations extending upon the sphere of culture has been proven. Italy and Austria are far ahead in reformation of public institutions into institutions of private law, regulation of working force, structure of cultural consumption etc., while Slovenia and Croatia are slow, but determined followers. Studies of various cultural productions (visual arts, performing arts, music and publishing) have showed surprisingly different artistic ideologies in various cultural productions and very specific working conditions. These assessments will importantly assist state and local politicians/administrators in decision-making processes about strategic plans, allocation of funds and thoughtful cultural policy in the regional and global context. Analyses of cultural productions in the field of visual and performing arts, music and publishing present relations among various agents (artists, public and private institutions, mediators, publishers, public…), their strategies, socio-political positions and potentials to respond to changing conditions and institutional transformations. Analyses will help all agents to understand their position better and to see it beyond their own interests. Research will help to understand various contemporary contradictions: - why "cultural" and "creative" industries have become profitable, but the economic position of the artists has not been improved; - why public supports to publishing enable the production of qualitative books, but can not enforce publishers, especially big ones, to have better publishing programmes; - why contemporary art museums have become anti-museums and why the differences between alternative galleries and national museums disappeared; - why musicians have easier access to the production of music than ever before, but are more dependent on music publishers and agencies than before; - why the reform of theatre system has been blocked...
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Views history