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15 December 2020
The Arts & Social Justice
The Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society (JAMLS) is organizing a special issue on the Arts & Social Justice. Throughout its history, JAMLS has published scholarly work about this subject, including Spellman’s (1988) reflections on multicultural arts, and Keller’s (1989) theorizing of the arts manager’s social responsibility. Scholars have also published on issues of diversity and multiculturalism (Adams 1992; Gilmore 1993; Laughton 1993; Lowry 1991; Moore 1990). More recently, authors have expanded this scholarly discourse to include an examination of fundraising practices (Jung 2015), financing Jamaican cultural products (Spence 2017), theorizing minority entrepreneurship (White 2018), as well as examining affirmative action policy (Cuyler 2013), and social justice education in arts management (Cuyler 2017). Now, however, as inequity has deepened in many nations and social unrest in democracies continues to grow, the urge to examine the role of the arts and culture as a contributor to social justice efforts—or, in some cases, as a barrier to the achievement of social justice—takes on a new urgency.
A variety of characterisations for the Arts & Social Justice have made way for a wide range of emphases and strategies. Some scholars have suggested that the arts and culture can serve as a vehicle for the acquisition of political capital (Ross 1998). Others concentrate on the role of the arts in understanding and revealing problematic social structures (Freire 1998; 2000; Freire & Freire 1994), or the role of culture, identity, and pedagogy in understanding and challenging oppression (hooks 1994; Nieto 2009). Still others highlight the ways that language reveals social practices and structures embedded in everyday activities and discourses (Bakhtin 1982; Foucault 1982; Bourdieu 1999). In addition, some insist on the need for culture to spark imagination on the range of alternative possibilities (Mouffe 2007; Ranciere 2008; Hardt & Negri 2009). Lastly, scholars have also sought to re-conceptualize the management of funding policies and practices with the aim of achieving cultural equity (Holden 2006; Zuidervaart 2011; Helicon Collaborative 2017; Lawrence 2017). Yet, the claim that culture can achieve social justice remains highly contested due to a lack of critical inquiry into its feasibility. Furthermore, the term “social justice” is associated with such a wide range of artistic practices, initiatives, and institutional critiques that a shared understanding of what is meant as the Arts & Social Justice remains elusive, particularly among cultural professionals.
For this special issue on the Arts & Social Justice, JAMLS invites contributions that explore the following questions:
- What are the emerging practices across the global cultural sector identified as the Arts & Social Justice?
- In what ways do practices in the Arts & Social Justice differ across cultural contexts?
- How do the Arts & Social Justice advance or complicate access, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) discourses and practices in the cultural sector?
- In what ways has Arts Management and/or Cultural Policy advanced, complicated, or undermined the Arts & Social Justice?
- In what ways can the global cultural sector evaluate the Arts & Social Justice to reveal and communicate its benefits for the sector and communities?
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JAMLS welcomes theoretical reflections, case studies, and empirical studies from scholars around the world. Papers should range between 5,000 and 7,000 words. Authors should indicate that they are submitting a manuscript for the special call: The Arts & Social Justice.
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