One advantage, or should I say privilege of moving around, working in different places, is that it allows to easily take up new challenges, finding new opportunities to make life difficult. Well, at least I challenged myself, and now I am allowed doing so in an official framework. For my stay in Budapest in my role as visiting professor at Faculty of Economics, Department of World Economy and also as fellow of the Balassi Institute, Budapest (late spring/summer 2012) I had been invited to give an additional course for PhD-students.
Then, accepting challenging students means to stretch things a little bit. And also thinking about globalisation and looking at the repeatedly point made in this context: gobalisation is a complex and multifaceted matter motivates to think about a different approach, providing an insight of how globalisation is actually lived. And isn’t one way of defining culture as exactly this: the way in which we live our daily life, now the life in a globalised and globalising world?
My personal interest in what is called the fine arts, developed some years ago with beginning some arts studies during a lengthy stay in Rome, and furthered by several smaller exercises over the following periods put a stumbling block into the way – to be used as stepping stone. So, having been asked for this additional course I proposed
New economic philosophies. Its reflection in 6 paintings since the Renaissance
I now got the clear way for this – and so I am thinking about six paintings … And I am sure, Flemish painters like Hals, van Rijn will be amongst them. And I am equally sure that a look into the workshops of some of the artists will tell quite a lot of what the life had been like – that life about which we learn little about textbooks like on Macroeconomics as for instance that by Abel/Bernanke/Croushore (just randomly taken, one of the books frequently used).
It would surely be exciting to develop this further: … in six paintings, six novels, six poems … – sure, this is in many cases about the fine arts, also as arts of the fine people. Still, it looks like an interesting challenge …
Before that I will try a little pre-exercise: when going with my social-policy students on a study trip during next month I will try myself in a guided tour through two arts galleries: the old and the modern Pinaktothek. On the program amongst others Duerer’s Apostles, Boucher’s Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour and Marc’s Mandrill– just an indulgence of grand narrative of history.
Max Weber wrote on the state
Every state is founded on force,’ said Trotsky at Brest-Litovsk. That is indeed right. If no social institutions existed which knew the use of violence, then the concept of ‘state’ would be eliminated, and a condition would emerge that could be designated as ‘anarchy,’ in the specific sense of this word. Of course, force is certainly not the normal or the only means of the state–nobody says that–but force is a means specific to the state. Today the relation between the state and violence is an especially intimate one. In the past, the most varied institutions–beginning with the sib–have known the use of physical force as quite normal. Today, however, we have to say that a state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. Note that ‘territory’ is one of the characteristics of the state. Specifically, at the present time, the right to use physical force is ascribed to other institutions or to individuals only to the extent to which the state permits it. The state is considered the sole source of the ‘right’ to use violence. Hence, ‘politics’ for us means striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either among states or among groups within a state.
Max Weber, 1919: Politics as a Vocation
And it is exactly here where Antonio Gramsci stepped in, developing this legitimacy further, elaborating from a Marxist perspective the meaning and working of hegemonic power systems. – Fine-arts – in many cases also an idol for mass-culture but also a source of fracture – have surely a role to play here. And exploring these expressive means may also mean that we can understand in a much clearer way in which way political economy is very much also a matter of the Zeitgeist: the spirit of the times.
Not an easy task, not a simple work to be accomplished – but surely more exciting as following the beaten track of downplaying lived arts as artefact.
PS: Actually, a first attempt into this direction: of bringing in fine arts as point of reflection had been undertaken in the working paper on