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DemCP/AiS evening lecture - PASCAL GIELEN (University of Antwerp): "The Rise of the Common City. The Role of Aesthetics, Commons and Semi-Public Spaces for Urban Politics"

When:Tu 15-11-2022 19:00 - 21:00
Where:Exposition room (1313.0007), Harmonie building

This public lecture is organized by the Research Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics.


Book cover with the title "The Rise of the Common City" in large font

This Evening Lecture is offered by the Research Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics (DemCP) in collaboration with the Research Centre for Arts in Society (AiS) and will feature Pascal Gielen, Professor of Sociology of Culture at the University of Antwerp. Introduction by Dr Florian Lippert, moderation by Dr Thijs Lijster.

Since the financial crisis started at the end of 2007, a lot of governments have made budget cuts in the cultural and artistic field. Inspired by the critical social theory of Herbert Marcuse (1964), Gielen understands these policy decisions as ‘repressive liberalism’: (cultural) politics that on the one hand proclaim individual freedom, stimulate cultural entrepreneurship and embrace the creative city, but on the other hand develop a large-scale decentralized control apparatus that strongly restricts individual and artistic freedom. In his lecture, Gielen will define ‘commonism’ as a counter-ideology and the Common City as a sustainable alternative to the creative city. For this, he will analyze the relationship between aesthetics, commons, semi-public spaces and politics. He looks at how activists and creative ‘workers’ develop commoning practices, and at the aesthetic strategies on which those practices are based.

About the speaker

Pascal Gielen is a writer and full professor of sociology of culture and politics at the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (ARIA), where he leads the Culture Commons Quest Office (CCQO). Gielen is editor of the international book series Antennae - Arts in Society (Valiz). In 2016, he became laureate of the Odysseus grant for excellent international research of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders in Belgium. In 2022, he was appointed by the Flemish Government as curator of Culture Talks. Gielen has published many books on culture, politics, commons and civil action.