Cultural vulnerability

  • Jan 19
  • 2 mins

We often oppose the goodness of social action with the elitism of the cultural world. It is a false dilemma, just as it has been to argue about whether a building in the Raval ought to be made into a medical centre or a museum. The former is presented as a service of primary necessity and the latter is valued with a certain amount of suspicion, as if it were a luxury. As of 1 November a group of doctors in Montreal, in Canada, are allowed to prescribe a visit to a museum as treatment. This is a symptom of the fact that culture is a mainstay of our wellbeing as much as health and education are.

Cultural workers live in a lamentable state of job insecurity, as we can see from the debate that opens this Culture Folder. The arts actually help us to recognise ourselves in our vulnerability, in a world in which advertising and the imperative of personal success render any expression of failure invisible and intolerable.

As Joumana Haddad says in her interview, “real freedom demands continuous awareness,” and this emancipation will be impossible without the concurrence of shared culture. There also appear new technologies such as blockchain which, unless they are finally co-opted by the great monopolies, may have a liberating effect. We talk about all this and more in these pages.