Provoking Democracy: Why We Need the Arts

Provoking Democracy: Why We Need the Arts cover
, Caroline Levine. Provoking Democracy: Why We Need the Arts. Blackwell, 2007. Print.

“We are used to telling ourselves that the arts need the protection of a flourishing democracy in order to survive. But in fact, the opposite is true: democracies require art – challenging art – to ensure that they are acting as free societies.'” This ground-breaking book provides a provocative and compelling exploration of the complex relationship between democracy and the arts. It analyses the roles of dissenting and unpopular artists, such as Jackson Pollock, Bertolt Brecht, D. H. Lawrence, and 2 Live Crew in twentieth century society. Shows how artists in the tradition of the avant-garde may once again prove to be effective catalysts for contemporary change and democratic freedom. Moves beyond specific debates over obscenity, public funding, and censorship, getting at art’s value and purpose in democratic societies and concluding that the most rebellious artists need the protection of the democratic state, just as the freest and fairest democracies need the provocations of art. Forms part of the Blackwell Manifestos series, in which top scholars offer lively interventions into current debates.

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