Transformative practices: the aesthetics, ethics and politics of social relations


Session Title:

  • Transformative Creativity - Participatory Practices I

Presentation Title:

  • Transformative practices: the aesthetics, ethics and politics of social relations




  • Abstract

    The rapid and unprecedented changes effecting societies since the 1960s are having a profound effect on the production, dissemination, interpretation, documentation and archiving of cultural artefacts and events. Many refer to these changes as globalization, although other terms such as ‘the post-industrial society, the information society, the network society, disciplinary society, control society, informatization, scale-free networks, small-worlds and smart mobs’ are also used. The exact nature and extent of globalisation is fiercely debated and competing analyses are often rooted in claims and denials regarding epochal shifts, the decline or otherwise of the nation-state and corresponding transformations in social relations. Suggesting that the ‘information society’ perpetuates and promotes longterm capitalist relations enormously, social theorist Frank Webster declares that ‘while there is undoubted change taking place, and this at a speed and with a reach hitherto unimaginable, it is for the most part a matter of the continuity, consolidation and extension of established relations’. Whilst acknowledging the significance of information, knowledge, advanced communications and computing technologies to these developments, he urges resistance to any consideration that these are the cause or indeed privileged factors in contemporary change. Instead, Webster identifies ongoing features of capitalism such as: ability to pay; market criteria, competition, private ownership over state holdings, wage labour and commodification of activities as markers of global network society.