Title

Artistic resistance as a form of social change and community development in a time of war and globalization

Publication Date

1-1-2004

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Mary M. Gannon

Abstract

In order to address the global crisis imposed by globalization and militarism communities are searching for tools to express themselves and the world around them. In an effort to help communities, activists, and ordinary people, this capstone explores the idea of art as a tool for social change. My question is; can resistance through artistic expressions develop and mobilize sustainable communities and effectively resist current global trends? I investigate how "community art" connects people and how it can be utilized effectively to challenge the dominant power structure. I used a pilot study of "Give Peace a Dance," an event that brought artist and community together around their opposition to the Iraq war. I interview the artists and collect feedback from the audience. I also interview career political activists with whom I have worked with and observed. I compared the interviews and coded their answers to find common themes. Bringing people together is the antithesis of the individualism that dominant power structure/culture advocates. I conclude that art effects social change by connecting people and creating community. Art is a part of culture that communicates on a large scale and on multiple levels which makes it a powerful tool for education, empowerment and action. The dominant culture influences mainstream culture which influences art. This research attempts to show that this process can happen from the bottom up; art can influence culture which then can change the dominant culture. This research can be a resource to those wanting diversify their tools create social change.

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