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All quarter, we have explored a variety of pressing social issues, as well as the many creative ways people have tried to affect change. You should now be prepared to think in deeper ways about politics of economic interests, as well as what we often call identity politics. Another way of putting this is the politics of redistribution vs. the politics of recognition. Which do you find more important for inspiring change and social equality—demands for cultural change (recognition) or demands for economic change (redistribution)? Do you think change is most important on a symbolic or an economic level (and why)? How are cultural and economic issues intertwined? Would you (like Nancy Fraser) argue for a combination of both? What might such a combination look like?
Your engagement in the above topic should form the basis of your final paper, and your overall argument should address these issues in great detail. However, you will also need concrete examples (i.e. so-called ‘real world’ examples) from which to draw.
With this in mind, you have the option (but not requirement) to focus your response around the following additional issue:
Can art inspire or bring about real change? Do you agree with critics who claim art is a ‘social safety valve’ that allows oppressed folks to vent their dissatisfaction, or those who believe art is a genuine form of resistance (or neither or both)? Or, might you agree more with Horkheimer & Adorno’s analysis suggesting that now art is simply another commodity to be bought and sold for profit? Explain in detail what you argue the role for art in society is. What examples of real social and/or artistic movements can you provide to strengthen your argument?