Prefigurative Politics and Social Practice: A Critique

Koster, J. A. (2023) Prefigurative Politics and Social Practice: A Critique. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

J. A. Koster PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted May 2022_Final Award Jun 2023.pdf - Accepted Version

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This thesis offers a critical account of activist art and prefigurative politics. It pursues a double trajectory. On the one hand, it considers art's transformation into activism or what is known as social practice. On the other hand, it examines the growing popularity of prefigurative politics. The thesis connects these phenomena, arguing that they illuminate and supplement each other. If art has become a form of goal-oriented social action, it is equally true that recent forms of socio-political contestation define themselves in self-consciously aesthetic terms. The thesis suggests that by looking at social practice through the lens of prefigurative politics and by looking at prefigurative politics through the lens of art, we gain a fuller understanding of each and in fact are able to perceive their essential commonality. Each is a form of social action with an aesthetic rationale. In social practice, as in prefigurative politics, the object of social action is no longer to bring about social change but to demonstrate the possibility of change by performing a utopian alternative. Thus the thesis draws on the concept of prefiguration to articulate a new account of social practice and to clarify the aesthetic dimension of prefigurative politics. In doing so, it employs a critical-dialectical method and embraces a broadly Marxist perspective.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
1 March 2022Submitted
19 June 2023Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Prefigurative politics, prefigurative practice, prefiguration, social practice, activist art, socially engaged art, relational art, participatory art, collaborative art, community-based art, political art, critical art, political aesthetics, art and politics, beauty, aesthetics, social movements, New Left, Marxism, anarchism, social sculpture, Grant Kester, Jacques Rancière, Friedrich Schiller, Immanuel Kant, Occupy, Occupy Wall Street, Indignados, movement of the squares, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Carsten Höller, Joseph Beuys, Claire Bishop, postcritique
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-02 - art
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Art
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2023 13:28
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2023 13:28

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