Social Theories I-II

Courses held at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna by Anamarija Batista, 2013/14

Social Theories I
Visions of Economic Theories: their Effects and Consequences for Social Practice

In times of crisis, the development of the capital- and growth-oriented economy and its effects on organizational structures, ways of life, the distribution of income, and general proportionalities become the center of discussion. This course focuses on the relation between reality and economic theory, the idea and visions postulated in the process, and the actual nature of social practice. An overview of the main economic theories and their representatives (such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, Joseph Schumpeter, John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, Dennis Meadows, Joseph Stiglitz, Lusie Gubitzer) will be provided, embedded in their respective social context. Students will learn about historical developments but also about alternative economic models. These theoretical considerations will then be interpreted using examples selected from the social environment. By relating the results of such analyses to voices critical of the system (Antonio Gramasci, Theodor Adorno, Slavoj Zizek, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri) and providing examples taken from artistic practice, students will further investigate and reflect on their coursework.

Social Theories II
Spatial Production as a Dimension of Social Conditions

(Social) spaces are (socially) produced, as Henri Lefebvre expresses it in his essay “The Production of Space”. Thus, space is no container housing social relationships and processes, but must rather be construed as a social, productive process of perception, utilization, and appropriation/acquisition. Space is the outcome of human and poetic-linguistic activity, attribution, and projection. This course offers an overview of the theoretical and empirical contributions on the Production of Space (including those by David Harvey, Henri Lefebvre, Doreen Massey, Neil Smith, Edward Soja). Students will be asked to investigate the role of space in the production/creation of social relationships. At the same time, we will focus on issues of spatial organization, structuring, and imagination, on the dimension of materiality, and on the concepts of representational strategies. Examples taken from societal and artistic practice serve to consolidate and augment the theoretical basis.

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