Andrej Pezelj: Emancipation in the field of art discourses

A treasure of aesthetic terms and concepts as any social phenomenon is the result of specific historical processes. Terms that are commonly used today because it automatically seems they depict the importance of a rounded meaning or function have a definite length of life, yet we feel as though they would always part of this treasure. The “universality” of aesthetic terms is dictated by the universality of art, which at the same time also prevents the emancipation of a viewer.

Within the seminar on ‘Emancipation and treasure”, namely through the analysis of texts Rancier, Bourdieu and Foucault, we will try to lay the foundation for the emancipation of the strict hierarchy of artistic discourse, which today is often dominated by a metaphor.

The first part of the seminar will provide the Rancier’s concept of emancipation of intelligences, developed in his book Ignorant teacher. If the art system is largely dependent on the symbolic hierarchy of categories and the game of power that is immanent to this hierarchy, it can be the best way that the art system is conceptually “surprised” through the analysis of the educational causes of hierarchy. There is no successful emancipation, which could not be emancipated also from its own conceptual tools.
Therefore, the primary objective of the seminar is the attempt to identify weak points Rancier’s emancipation of intelligences.


  • Jacques Rancière: Ignorant Teacher: five lessons about intellectual emancipation
  • Jacques Rancière: Emancipated Spectator, chapter 3 – Paradoxes of political art

The second part of the seminar will deal in detail with the systems and strategies of class-distinction of taste and artistic feeling. The Bourideu’s concept of habitus and class-distinction will serve as a conceptual basis. It is to highlight the theorem that the flavours are not to be discussed. The motto of the seminar, and Bourdieu would certainly agree, that the taste is being the only meaningful discussion.


  • Pierre Bourdieu: Distinctions, chapter 2, English translation
  • Pierre Bourdieu: The rules of art, selected works

The last part of the seminar will provide general important Foucault’s concepts that can play an important role in analyzing artistic discourses. We will talk about the rarity of statements, authorship, archives and discontinuity. Notwithstanding the fact that Foucault did not work intensively with visual art, his thinking can directly offer us excellent concepts for a wider understanding of art.


  • Michel Foucault: What is the author?
  • Michel Foucault: History of Sexuality 1