New Faculty Seminar
Autonomy or Disavowal of Socioeconomic Context? The Precarity of Cultural Workers in Slovenia since the 1980s
Cultural workers often criticize capitalist modes of production, but they often don't apply that criticism to their own working conditions. They tend not to see their production process as part of the capitalist system because they understand themselves as situated in an autonomous social sphere. This paper scrutinizes this claim for the autonomy of arts and cultural production in Europe by focusing on the position of freelance cultural workers and artists during the period of transition from self-managed socialist Yugoslavia to the independent nation state of Slovenia. Drawing upon policy analysis and fieldwork, this paper argues that the claim for the autonomy of art is in fact a structural disavowal of the socioeconomic context and therefore a reaction against rather than a progressive response to the destruction of the welfare state during past three decades.