United Nations' official discourse promoting artistic freedom: a mechanism of symbolic power?




Almira, Ariadne

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This research seeks to analyze the official discourse promoted by the United Nations (UN) in regard to artistic freedom. Artistic freedom constitutes an ideological arena. The idea of dominant institutions dictating what should be considered art - and what freedom of artistic expression should be promoted - is connected to the main debate in sociology: social order versus change. The states and not the artists define artistic freedom. This study will use critical discourse analysis (CDA) to explore if the UN exerts symbolic power (Bourdieu 1989) over its members. Although the emphasis of this research relates to mechanisms of power, examining only the discourse from the UN might be a limitation. In fact, CDA implies a relationship between texts, discursive practice, and social practice (Fairclough 2003). That is why this research will also examine four national discourses: the United States, Cuba, Argentina, and Germany. This study considers the UN as an Ideological-State-Apparatus (Althusser 1989). Some Ideological-States- Apparatus constitute vehicles to propagate dominant and hidden ideologies behind discourses. Current cultural and political theories in sociology suggest that discourse constitutes a symbolic mechanism of power. Sociologists of art and culture have been engaged in studies relating the arts with ideology, but more attention to the role of discourse, when examining mechanisms of power, is needed.



Artistic-Freedom, Bourdieu, Critical-Discourse-Analysis, Discourse, Symbolic-Power, United-Nations