The Politics Through Arts and Culture: On Slovenian Literary Nationalism

The Politics Through Arts and Culture: On Slovenian Literary Nationalism

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3835-7.ch005
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The expanded concept of work of art that challenges the boundaries of aesthetic theory and directs the attention toward the artistic service as a flexible cognitive activity is useful in the field of politics. Today's societies are faced with the expanded concept of the political that is set at the intersection of politics-as-we-know-it (including the national state and the parliament) and the novel modes of the (post)political including the activities of civil society, international organizations, and the cultural. This chapter refers to the Slovenian literary nationalism as one of the key Slovenian ideological state apparatuses that is at play in today's Slovenian politics and is deeply affected by not-just-political agents from economy, religion, lifestyle, and culture. The criticism of literary nationalism is not directed towards the activity of writing and the literary world but towards institutions that form a literary-ideological, interpretative, and propaganda context of national literary production.
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Events in contemporary political reality diverge from expectations. In order to explain their complexity, causal chain analysis and the use of traditional methodology are not sufficient; research should include the approaches of the political theory, analyses of institutions of the contemporary civil society, contributions from cultural studies, and the theory of those movements in post-aesthetic contemporary art and literature that perform political functions. Contemporary politics is being pursued at the intersection of various fields, one of the generators of its innovations is the art and literature. In the global world of hybrid content interconnected with software units (Internet of things, ubiquitous computing, Cloud, Big data), interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches are required, including contemporary art and literature conceived as research and service activity. The challenge is the today’s individual with her lifestyle, views and decisions that are more affected by multinational marketing, civil society organizations, and social media than by decisions of political parties in national parliaments. A look at the pedestrian below in the crowd (De Certeau, 1984) and her tactics provides more exactly an explanation of today's public space and the distribution of power in it than the analysis of strategies of large systems (nation states, multinationals, the military complex).

To understand the political in totalitarian (national-socialist, communist) and post-communist European countries, it is essential to take into account the social position of culture that played (and still plays) numerous important roles in these countries. In German national-socialism, culture (based especially on the arts) was used for propaganda purposes, as a means to spread the Aryan ideology (e.g. the blood and soil principle), and played a role in education and self-promotion of the German question (Hinz, 1979; Petropoulos, 1996). In the Soviet Union, where the approved artistic style was socialist realism, culture had, first and foremost, a propagandistic and educational function, whilst in the countries of the Warsaw Pact (e.g. Poland, Czechoslovakia) and in former Yugoslavia, it also functioned as an area which formed an important part of the opposition articulated as the so-called cultural dissidence.

The fall of the Berlin wall allowed the emergence of new post-socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe and accelerated the transition to democracy in some of them. When these countries were established, numerous individuals who were for decades unprivileged under the Communist government (e.g. religious individuals, nonconformist artists, and social scientists) considered themselves as winners and started to act accordingly. Rather than developing non-authoritative behaviour and helping to establish new democratic institutions, they established themselves as the new aristocracy and started to enjoy the privileges of winners. Since the declaration of independence in 1991, such individuals in Slovenia have included the so-called liberators (individuals who participated in the establishment of the new country) and especially intellectuals (predominantly writers, philosophers, and sociologists) of the journal Nova revija. Shortly afterwards, this spirit, tied to symbolic capital (Bourdieu, 1984) of the national independence endeavor, also spread to writers from other circles that are not explicitly nationalist, e.g. circles around the literary journal Literatura and Beletrina publishing house. Instead of literary nationalism in the strict sense they relate much more to the yuppie and hipster culture in the sense of the authoritative attitude based on new marketing and promotional devices.

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