Research Project Agonistic Cultural Policy (AGONART) – Case Studies on the Conflictual Transformation of Cultural Quarters

Between December 2020 and August 2022, the research project "Agonistic Cultural Policy (AGONART) – Case Studies on the Conflictual Transformation of Cultural Quarters" was dedicated to cultural, political and cultural policy dynamics at the urban level in Austria. In doing so, AGONART saw itself as an interdisciplinary contribution between qualitative-empirical basic research in political science (with a focus on cultural politics and policy) and political theory (with a focus on conflict theory or agonistic democratic theory). Based on related research on conflictual forms of cooperation between the independent art scene in Berlin and the local cultural administration, the aim of the research project was to shed light on local cultural-political constellations between independent artists, artists' associations, and cultural associations and actors from the administration and politics in urban contexts in Austria in terms of how they deal with conflicts. Against the backdrop of a lack of empirical research on Austrian cultural politics and policy, the three largest Austrian cities of Vienna, Graz, and Linz were selected in the framework of AGONART to observe dynamics between conflict and cooperation in urban proximity. Building on research on cultural governance in Austria, another endeavor of the project was to strengthen conceptual knowledge about forms of cooperation between state and civil actors. Thus, the focus was on a critical recontextualization of cultural politics and policy in the hegemonic field of tension between consensus and conflict, pointing beyond consensus-oriented, sometimes normatively inflated approaches such as cultural involvement, inclusion and participation. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, currently relevant fields of cultural political conflicts (social protection of artists and cultural workers, restriction of live events, legitimation of cultural funding) were included in the empirical research. According to the current relevance, specific analytical focuses were set within the three cities. The focus was on two urban festivals, the Kultursommer Wien and the Kulturjahr Graz, as well as on urban development projects in Linz in which local artists were involved.

Duration: December 2020 – August 2022

Third-party funded by: Anniversary Fund of the Austrian National Bank (Österreichische Nationalbank OeNB)

Research Team

Principal Investigator: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Oliver Marchart

Post Doc Researcher: Anke Schad-Spindler, PhD
Prae Doc Researcher: Stefanie Fridrik, BA BA MA

Scientific Consultant: Ass. Prof. Dr. Friederike Landau (University of Nijmegen) 

Publications and conference attendences

List of publications and conference attendences (pdf)