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Course 2020-2021 a.y.

20447 - CULTURAL MEDIATION

ACME
Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English


Go to class group/s: 19

ACME (8 credits - II sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/12)
Course Director:
STEFANO BAIA CURIONI

Classes: 19 (II sem.)
Instructors:
Class 19: STEFANO BAIA CURIONI


Suggested background knowledge

The course explores the notion of culture (plural = cultures), the nature of cultural practice in its managerial and political dimensions. During the course there will be references to Anthropology, Cultural History, Political Philosophy, Management, Urbanism. The notion of mediation as a "cultural practice" will imply the capacity to bridge the main theoretical frameworks with concrete cases. The lectures and the course materials will offer a sufficient support for the requested knowledge upgrade. It could be useful a preliminary reading of the Handout of the course and the couple of papers that will be provided with it.


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

The Cultural Mediation course aims at developing a thick understanding of the nature and workings of the cultural and creative dimension, trying to circumscribe its history, specificities and contemporary challenges. The course, following an interdisciplinary and a multidimensional approach to cultural management, asks what are the meanings and the implications of managing culture(s)? Specifically, we will reflect upon and look at the following dimensions: - Context. There is the need for a critical contextualization (time and space) of the understanding of cultural phenomena. - Networks. The notion of network and social spaces, scenes and fields, as cultural incubators. - Institutions. The peculiar nature of cultural policies and the complexity of the connection between cultural dynamics and local / urban development. - Practices and Processes. The understanding of culture as an (embodied) practice and as process instead as only as static dimension, or a product. - Politics. Cultural productions and exchanges might be connected to change, transformation and resistance to transformation, but they are also sites of power imbalances, production of ideologies and dominations. - Dynamics and Change. How innovation happens? How ideas travel in space and time? The notion of translation and or the notion of “resonance” will help us in clarifying these questions. - Evaluation. Judgement devices ad critical capacities.

CONTENT SUMMARY

The course will concentrate on three main sections:

 

a. defining cultures -  In this section the notion of mediation will be unfold in relations to the definition of culture, and the definition of cultural fields. The section addresses the issue of a legitimate definition of culture in order to have a common basis for the class discussion and understanding. The contents of the discussion will consider the historic evolution of the word “culture” and its connected meanings in their historic evolution in the western representation (paideia, civilisation, kultur, bildung) and the epistemic turn imposed social sciences imposed as legitimate source of knowledge (i.e. anthropology and sociology)  along the XIX century. The class will also discuss the notion of ideology and the issue of inclusion/refusals in the frame of intercultural relationships and the processual, dynamic and transformational nature of cultural relationships.

The section eventually offers a first assessment of the meaning of “mediation”, translation and more specifically of “cultural mediation”.

 

b. doing cultures -  In this session of the course, we will address the notion of practice and explore its depth of meanings. After offering a possible definition of practice, we will focus on cultural practice. Secondly, starting from a reflection on the meaning and advantages of adopting a practice-based appraisal of culture and cultural processes, this session aims at highlighting how and under which circumstances managerial practices can be sites of cultural processes generation. Thirdly, we will work on an example of organising under political views and try to frame cultural entrepreneurship as a practice generating culture.

 

c. cultures and change - This section addresses the nexus between space,communities and cultural change focusing on role of urban development. Specifically, the section introduces a theoretical framework for understanding the spatial dimension of urban society with a focus on the role of individuals, the urban form and institutions in building resilient communities. We will offer tools to understand some of the restructuring processes that have been transforming the modern metropolis over the past thirty years – as the globalization of capital, labor and culture. Approaching the specificity of the urban space will give the opportunity to contextualize the role of “cultural mediation” to bring positive chance to our cities. 


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...

At the end of the course, the student will be able to deal critically with a list of relevant issues related to the management of culture:

 

  • The understanding of “culture” as a practice and a process connected to change, transformation and resistance to transformation. Cultural productions, exchanges, diffusions and refusals always imply a political dimension and power relationship.
  • The notion of network and social spaces, scenes and fields, as cultural incubators, environments, wombs of the cultural development of specific places in specific historical moments.
  • The peculiar nature of cultural policies and cultural institutions, the need for public-private cooperative behaviours, the complexity of the connection between cultural dynamics and local / urban development. 
  • The notion of “embodiment”, which is crucial in order to understand the nature, the resilience and the fragility of cultural processes and practices. 
  • The notion of “translation” and / or “resonance” in order to understand the re-enactments that produce cultural diffusion.
  • The complexity of the evaluation of cultural “qualities” and the time horizons of the evaluation of cultural practices
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...

know and interpret the implications of cultural changes

know how to manage a cultural change being aware of its political and ethical implications

deal with the specific languages of cultural fields

keep  a better control on his own learning path as a cultural manager

 

 


Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Online lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Individual assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
DETAILS

The guest speakers will be selected in order to bring up specific side of the cultural mediation practice, looking at different industrial contexts and different cultural missions.

 

The individual assignement will consist in a personal dissertation / advocacy that will allow the students to exercise their capacity to have a controlled cultural mediation process. Choosing among a list of defined topics and defined targets the students have to deliver a mediation project.

 

Interactive class activities will be activated through public discussions and individual presentations of single students to the class


Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •     x
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  •     x
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)
  •     x
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    The status of “attending” student is valid only for the two first exam sessions (May and June). From September, all students taking the exam are enrolled as non-attending. Attending students are assessed based on a final Written exam (100% of the grade). The exam is a mix of open questions and of one essay type question; the exam paper is based on the Teaching Material, including compulsory readings, lecturers slides, guest speakers’ seminar material and discussions held in class. The exam assesses students understanding and capacity of description of the main theoretical knowledge and concepts, and their ability to connect them to relevant elements and implications emerged during class discussions. Finally, it engages students in a personal analysis about managerial issues relating to course contents, through a critique of the theoretical fundamentals and with a further personal development. Exam specifications:

    • The exam consists of two sections, articulated as follows:
      • 3 open questions, closed books, based on course notes, presentations and readings. This section assesses students' understanding and capacity of description of the main theoretical knowledge and concepts, also connecting them to relevant elements and implications emerged from the testimonies of the practiotioners who were invited to the course.
      • 1 essay type, open book, question based on course notes, presentations and readings. This section assesses students' ability to analyze important issues relating to the course contents, to argue and express a view about those issues, with appropriate language, through a critique to theoretical fundamentals and with a further personal development. 
    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Non-attending students are assessed based on a final Written exam (100% of the grade). The exam is a closed-book exam where students are asked to answer two open questions; the exam paper is based on the Teaching Material, including compulsory readings and lecturers slides.

    The exam assesses students' familiarity with the main theoretical knowledge and concepts, as well as their ability to analyze important issues relating to the course contents, to argue and express a view about those issues, with appropriate language, through a critique to theoretical fundamentals and with a further personal development. Exam specifications:

    • The exam comprises three open questions. Students have to answer to two out of the three questions, each answer weights 50% of the final mark. The exam lasts 90 minutes. Both questions are based on the Teaching Material.

    Teaching materials
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Slides and readings presented in the course handout and delivered before and after specific lectures.

    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Fixed list of readings, Specifically:

    • EGEA Reading package cod. 20447 (you need to buy it at EGEA store) following readings on course reserve, https://lib.unibocconi.it/search*eng/r?SEARCH=20447&submit=Go.
    • L. KARPIK, Valuing the unique, (chapters 1,2,4,5,18).
    • T. ADORNO, The culture industry, (chapters 1 "On the fetish character of music and the regression of listening"). 
    • T.W. CHAN, J.H. GOLDTHORPE,  Social Stratification and Cultural Consumption: the visual arts in England, in Poetics, v. 35, Elsevier, 2007.
    • POTTS, CUNNINGHAM, HARTELY, ORMEROD, Social Network markets: a new definition of the creative industries, in Journal of cultural economics, v. 32, Springer, 2008. 
    Last change 11/12/2020 13:15