Etikettarkiv: Politics

Kulturens ‘osynliga värden’ bör synliggöras. Läs varför

Efterskalvet av min och Sofia Hanssons kulturekonomiska rapport Noll koll har varit givande och utmanande. Vi har fått en del kritik av SKL (som bemöts här), kommunpolitiker och en del andra som kommenterat eller mailat direkt. För det mesta handlar kritiken om att vi antingen har för lite på fötterna för att kunna avförda alla kommuner som misslyckade i sin uppföljning av kulturen (något vi aldrig hävdar, bara att de fem granskade kommunerna har allvarliga brister) eller en del begrepp som felaktigt läggs i vår mun, exepmelvis att vi vill öka politisk ”kontroll”. Helt fel.

Några klargöranden bör göras. Först ut är rapporten en idérapport. vi har inte utgått från att samla statistik och nyckeltal, vilket är kommuners, kulturrådets och SKL’s uppgift. Vi har istället tittat på hur kunskap kan mätas, förbättras och följas upp genom kulturupplevelser. Vi utgår från forskning  och rapporter som gjorts av internationella och svenska kulturekonomer, sociologer och kognitionsforskare och som visar indikationer på hur kultur kan påverka människor på komplexa, indirekta nivåer. En av de framstående forskarna är David Throsby, Australien, som i en mängd skrifter, vetenskapliga artiklar och förläsningar hävdat det unika med kultursektorn, inte minst genom sin metod Contignet Valuation Method. Genom att utvärdera kan man också förbättra, helt enkelt följa med sin samtid, publik, makthavare och privata sponsorer som med all sannolikhet kommer att öka i vårt land. Throsby är dock exempel på en ekonom som kan ge kunskap om mätning, men tillbaka till institutioners kvalitet går han aldrig in på djupet.

Språket som används vid debatter och konst, kultur och kvalitet är ett teknokratiskt språk som främst kommer ur andra samhällsområden, byråkrati och ekonomiska system. The Economist skriver tänkvärt om detta i förhållande till Grekland och Italien som gjort slag i saken och utnämnt ekonomer till politiska ledare för att stävja krisen. Jag tror att lösningen snarare handlar om högre nivå på samtalet mellan kulturproducenter och makthavare. Ett fördjupat samtal om professionalitet och att bemöta de livsfarliga påståendena ”kultur kan vara väldigt svårt” och ”konst är bara subjektivt”. Målet är att börja föra en diskussion om att konsten ska formulera sitt eget språk om kultur. Jag är inte ute efter att reproducera en befintlig bild av vad kultur är och vad den är till för, jag vill formulera en egen mer omfattande kulturpolitik utifrån forskning och kulturproducenters erfarenheter. Se mer här:

http://www.world-television.se/projects/timbro/bin/TimbroChannelPlayer.swf?asset=8109&playerType=widget

Fler medier om rapporten:

 

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Artists on Cultural Policy and Anti-Economics

In the latest issue of KRO Konstnären I moderate a talk between some of the most interesting younger artists of Sweden. They seak openly on the lack of funding, terrible finansial conditions in museums and how to produce cutting-edge cultre and still make it sell. Follow the link to get inside.

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Dishonesty and Misreadings is the Way of the Gender-Haters

So now the desperate offspring of the Swedish christian democratic party KDU has issued a propaganda campaign that has the aim of abolishing the  rational debate around gender and politics. The aim seems to be to lämna det genuskonsensus som samtliga andra partier anslutit sig till och formulera en borgerlig jämställdhetspolitik. So they want to leave the commonplace knowledge of gender and social science (who the hell needs a bunch of people smarter than you are and with more strange ideas of change than a normal christian democrat can handle?). As DN writes, the KD are trying to reconnect with the senior citizens of Sweden, putting their hope to people who grew up in an enviroment where segregated schools, universities and hatred for (homosexual) people where commonplace. Well, I somehow see why they need things like theme songs to support their struggle.

Many bloggers and a few editorials have shown support for abolishing the ‘gender-frenzy’ that they claim started with appointment of the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research and some of their recent activity like gender branding courses and universities. The KD and KDU are pursuing the same line of though that the Swedish Democrats whose agenda is far darker than KD’s but nonetheless hostile toward any view of politics that moves too far and too fast ahead of ”the real people of the world”. Political scientists Marie Demker and Andreas Johansson Heinö have interestingly pointed out that idea. The fact alone that the Swedish Democrats and the KD are now the only major political parties in Sweden that are not outspokenly feminist, is worth looking into.

People like Tanja Bergkvist will certainly stop at nothing to prove that there is a major flaw with the gender analysis of the worlds universities, think tanks and political board rooms. She and her bunch keeps on trying to undermine the idea that today’s society is somehow slanted towards a certain group of people that for most of the last 5000 years have had the world privilege to choose, rule and decide over every human institution we know – men.

Bergkvist and others (oftentimes mathematicians or people with none or scarce knowledge of social and political science) have been scared by gender theory because it aims to level the field of knowledge (and therefore power), and introduce a sensibility toward groups or individuals that normally are shut out of ‘rationally’ based institutions and fields of knowledge. One great example of this struggle is by pedagogy professor Moira von Wright whose report Gender and Text discusses the possibility of developing text books for schoolchildren as to make them more friendly to how girls perceive knowledge in a specific context. Now, misreading this report (which is not a scientific paper, folks, it is a politically issued report with scientific methods and discussions) as Bergkvist does when she thinks that von Wright presents a slanted way of looking at the entire field of Physics is exactly why things are going in a circle.

Although the report has some flaws the discussion of trying to create a book with a radically different way of thinking about physics in an early age is a nobel cause. I, for one, do not think men should be overrepresented in the field of physics and maths per se, although I am also aware of research confirming difference in male and female brains and developmental stages. But people like Bergkvist that have already made it to the mathematics department at Stockholm University does not think anyone else should have any problems with that achievement, and so the rational thinking that guides her life should not be pampered with, even if that makes schools and other institutions more prone to speak to boys in general. But what gender-haters must realize is that there is a difference between teaching and presenting ideas (of, say physics) and actually pursuing them. Gender theory has only one agenda – to unpack and decipher the power struggle that is immanent between the sexes, or between societal roles of gender, that are always constructed, regardless if it is based in biology, norms or tradition. Sign my up for that anytime.

Natalia K in Expressen

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Obama to Jump Back on The Stem Cell Wagon

Meistre Obama creates goodwill as well as uproars around the world with the announcement that he is reversing the Bush administration limits on federal financing for embryonic stem cell research as part of his thrust forward for science. Stem cell research is an uncontroversial issue in the world few secular societies but have been a severe controversy not least in the USA since  scientists Martin Evans, Matthew Kaufman, and Gail R. Martin in 1981 derived mouse embryonic stem cells and coined the term ”Embryonic Stem Cell”. This concept is not to be mistaken for ”Adult Stem cells”, which can be retracted out of the bone marrow of adult humans, alas, the quality of these cells are inferior to that found in embryos, therefor the controversy. Pope John Paul II in a famous speech on July 2001, addressed to GW Bush, asked for fall back of American support to stem cell research:

Experience is already showing how a tragic coarsening of consciences accompanies the assault on innocent human life in the womb, leading to accommodation and acquiescence in the face of other related evils such as euthanasia, infanticide and, most recently, proposals for the creation for research purposes of human embryos, destined to destruction in the process. (An excerpt from the Pope John Paul II’s address to President Bush at Castel Gandolfo, Italy, July 23, 2001. )

stem-cell-research1Obama now fulfills a mission started in 2005 with his vote for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which proposed the conducting and supporting of research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo. The controversy, basically an ontological issue has two sides as reported by the medical doctor Robin Cook: 1. how embryonic cells are created and harvested, and 2. the point at which an embryo becomes a human life. The controversy is a truely a matter of pragmatism and deontology, utilitarianism and moral faith, basically it surrounds the blastocyst, an embryo at an early stage of development, comprising around 120 undifferentiated stem cells. These cells can differentiate into any cell type, including other so called totipotent cells. So while for some the human life enters this world right after conception, for some it starts about 14 days after fertilization, when they become individualised, before that time they can develop into any sort of cell for any individual. When life actually starts, I am not the right person to argue, fo sho, but I am a certified pragmatist, thus embracing most research that develop social consequences toward the greater good – a truth as sure as anything when it comes to stem cell research.

What is important with Grandmaster Obama is not that he has philosophically more poignant arguments than had Bush for his policies (rhetorically, yes definitely!), but that after eight years, it is time to move to a different path, with more and more funding going to both the arts and science than it did during Bush. Very exciting times for the life sciences indeed let’s extract some undifferentiated stem cells and save some brains!

Reports by New York Times, Washington Post and me favorurite Scientific American

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