Without Exception

Art, Consensus and the Public Sphere

Joost de Bloois

May 1, 2012essay,

Artists and theorists have frequently deliberated the meaning of the idea of ‘autonomy in art’, and certainly since the protests against the cutbacks in art. Cultural studies specialist Joost de Bloois considers the present debate on this issue problematic because it is based too much on assumptions. Fundamental contradictions within the art sector as well as its complex relation to politics and the public domain are often ignored.

Art demands exception, but it will not be excepted1

‘Autonomy’ is not just the concern of the art world that is now, in the Netherlands, holding the ‘short end of the stick’, but, as self-legislation, immunity and territory, ‘autonomy’ is equally the concern of whomever is at the other end of that stick: in the Dutch case, that peculiar consortium of populists and neoliberals that rose to power after the 2010 elections. The irreducible ambivalence of current Dutch politics is the coupling of a global and de-territorialized neoliberal economic model and a populist ideology that is re-territorializing to the extreme. We are witnessing a rather odd work of mourning: the rapid dismantlement of the commons (of which the institutions of the welfare state are emblematic), which appears to be the prime goal of current austerity policies, is at the same time lamented and conjured by reserving the remains of the welfare state for those who are truly deserving, and who are now defined in strictly national terms. Equally, the protests we have seen so far against the unprecedented cuts in the very infrastructure of the Dutch art world seem to be characterized by a similar melancholia: claims of the universal significance of art were made to justify calls for the continuation of the state’s mecenat; claims that echoed, seemingly without being aware of the dissonance, both the rhetoric of the twentieth-century vanguard and the jargon of social-democratic cultural policymaking. Although there is no doubt that where we come from is a lot better than what we are heading for, the fundamental ambivalences of the art world today, as well as the complexity and vicissitudes of its relation to politics and its assumed public role, remain largely unaddressed. This long overdue problematization might, in fact, be obstructed by the tacit assumptions of ‘autonomy’ that underpin current debates; assumptions that in particular fail to address art’s relation to a public sphere that may increasingly be characterized as post-bourgeois, post-democratic and even post-cultural. What has become clear in the debates that accompanied the protests against the assault on the arts in the Netherlands is that the paradox that has sustained most of twentieth-century avant-garde practices, and has effectively served as the ground for art’s politicization throughout that century, has become inoperative: in the current liberal-populist constellation, the creed that ‘art is exceptional and therefore may claim the universal’ is reduced to nothing more than an oxymoron that, as such, is negligible. Yet, it is precisely this oxymoron that continues to determine debates today, and that obscures the complexity of art’s (real or potential) autonomy as well as its closely related public significance. Therefore, we might ask whether ‘autonomy’ truly remains ‘the elephant’ in the room’, that is to say, ‘the only matrix at our disposal’ to think about art’s public and political significance and to give shape to the responses and strategies in relation to the neoliberal restructuring of the art world and the cultural sphere.2 I would precisely like to argue that any meaningful conception of ‘autonomy’ today has to thoroughly account for the intimate correlation between art and contemporary capitalism and, perhaps particularly in the Netherlands, the advent of a liberal-populist consensus and the transformations of the public sphere that have resulted from this.

‘Relative Heteronomy’

As Jorinde Seijdel writes in her book on the prevalence of ‘amateurism’ in today’s art world: throughout the twentieth century, the history of art’s autonomy has foremost been the history of art’s increasing professionalization.3 Practically speaking, ‘autonomy’ resulted from a fundamental operation of exchange: art shrugged off its direct, precarious, ideological dependency on higher powers by confining itself to the ever proliferating framework of the institutions of the bourgeois state (art schools, museums, art education, etcetera). In our contemporary neoliberal context, however, ‘professionalization’ has been given a meaning that seems fundamentally at odds with still current notions of autonomy. Firstly, the increasing demand for direct valorization of art’s institutions (disguised as the urge to ‘professionalize’). Secondly, the ever growing symbiosis between art and the market, or rather: art and the very basic tenets of the economy. Over the past decades these two forms of professionalization have grown ever closer. On the one hand, we see a veritable boom of professional training programmes such as mfa’s, curatorial programmes and, most of all, the double helix of ‘art and research’. This so-called ‘educational turn’ in the art world cannot be seen apart from the increasing economization of knowledge work.4 It drags the art world into academic institutions that now operate under the premises of the Bologna treaty, which precisely reorganizes higher education along the lines of neoliberal political economy.5 On the other hand, we witness how art has become inextricably bound up with dominant modes of capital accumulation; in recent decades of art theory, this has been extensively documented, most notably in post-operaist and post-autonomist theory. The shift from Fordism to post-Fordism, from material to immaterial labour, has turned art from a relative anomaly into the model for contemporary capital accumulation. The artist now functions as the new Stakhanov, the new flexible, precarious superworker: the artist, often simultaneously fulfils her role as creative worker, as the eternal intern ‘who has nothing to offer but her free labour’,6 and as the homo debtor, the indebted subject who perpetually invests in her own ‘human capital’. Equally, the valorization of art seems to perfectly fit the now dominant mode of capital accumulation, since it operates through speculation (at least in the most prominent part of the artistic economy). Furthermore, the modus operandi for the valorization of art is largely that of today’s capitalism: it operates through derived capital accumulation such as city branding or the never-ending circus of biennials and festivals.7 Crucially, art has become largely indistinguishable from the ‘creative industries’ (design, fashion, media, etcetera), now championed by Dutch government policies, and therefore of other designer and luxury goods. As Isabelle Graw argues, in this context, even Bourdieu’s concept of art’s ‘relative autonomy’ is too optimistic. Rather, we should speak of the ‘relative heteronomy’ of art today: ‘Autonomy is no longer the dominant structural characteristic of the field of art. Considering the dominance of the economic system within society, it is necessary to shift the emphasis toward a definition of the artistic field as “relatively heteronomous”. In concrete terms, this means that the external constraints are placed in the foreground.’8

The creative economy (and its synonyms such as ‘cognitive capitalism’ or ‘immaterial labour’) has not so much shifted art towards the centre of capital accumulation, but rather appropriated its modus operandi: art is effectively superseded by the creative economy and is now exiled at its outer margins. Art qua art is at best a niche among others. ‘Art’ is but one of the many composite private/public circuits that constitute neoliberal society (and that have come to replace ‘the social fabric’). Consequently, it is doubtful whether art, as such, is powerful enough to change its own exorbitant position under neoliberalism in any significant way. Let alone that it may claim its, politically vanguardist, ‘exceptional universalism’. This is not to say that art cannot, and even less: should not act politically; however, in our current context, we will have to be very specific about art’s political radius (and where to put the emphasis in the notion of ‘political art’). As we will see, the voluntarist deadlock into which a large part of the debate driven by contemporary conceptions of ‘autonomy’ (at least in the Netherlands) has manoeuvred itself, does not allow this radius to be addressed.

In this context, both sides of the debate concerning the cuts in the art world in the Netherlands seem rather anachronistic. State Secretary for Culture Halbe Zijlstra intriguingly disregards the reality of the art market and its intertwining with contemporary capital accumulation by inciting artists to become ‘cultural entrepreneurs’ who need to give up their ‘addiction’ to government subsidies as their supposed only lifeline.9 The rationale behind Zijlstra’s policy is that art, in recent decades, sided with the wrong kind of economism: still too Keynesian (too much state-sponsored valorization, rather than immediate valorization), and too much emphasis on Third Way social-democracy for his taste. This explains why the current policies attack the educational and institutional infrastructure, which now needs to be subjected to the regime of immediate value-extraction. At the same time, we see how the Dutch art world reacts with a similar disregard for the real significance of art’s autonomy today. We hear the mantra of art’s fundamental ‘valuelessness’, of art’s autonomy opposing principles of exchange, valorization and commodification, when in reality this relation is at best ambiguous. Although the energies that went into the protests against the indeed unprecedented cuts in the arts in the Netherlands should by no means be underestimated, these perhaps also display a peculiar misreading of the developments within the art world over the past 30 years and seem to fall back on an absolute (all too romantic and pre-Adornian) notion of autonomy that is, even more worryingly, effectively translated as dependency on the state, without taking into account the extent to which that state has redesigned itself along neoliberal lines.

‘Autonomy’ is assumed to be a self-evident attribute that correlatively turns both the art work and the artist into fiercely independent subjects – who inevitably get in the way of any meaningful rethinking of ‘autonomy’ within today’s political economy. Because art seems bereft of any effective positioning concerning its autonomy (or lack thereof) in relation to neoliberal modes of capital accumulation, artists and other defenders of art’s cause have lapsed into an anachronistic voluntarism. To give but what is probably the most outspoken example of this tendency: Dutch artist Jonas Staal’s neo-Beuyssian call for ‘creative man’ as the antipode of the neoliberal homo oeconomicus.10 Remarkably, in Staal’s appeal, the generic aspect of Beuys’s Jeder Mensch ein Kunstler – its address to unleash undefined potentiality – is immediately muted by the fact that the emphasis is very much on ‘every man an artist’: it presupposes a subject whose autonomy, as the guarantor of creativity, is always already considered a given (and whose historically limited agency, for example under neoliberal rule, thus remains unquestioned; its historical situatedness becomes a burden that can simply be shrugged off). Staal’s détournement of Beuys’s call to arms implies that before producing anything else, man must produce himself. Here, autonomy paradoxically becomes the timeless attribute of an equally timeless subject that acts as the guardian of its own potentiality, thus forbidding time to impede its autonomy. Consequently, Beuys’s generic appeal is transformed in a productivist and thus subjective project, which is, practically, expressed in quasi-Leninist terms of an artistic-political avant-garde that needs to bring about ‘creative man’.11 The microcosm of the artistic event is projected onto the macrocosm of society, implying that the microcosm of art somehow directly influences the public sphere – an idea that conveniently remains unproblematized because of its voluntarist assumptions. Staal’s proposals start from the voluntarist assumption of an autonomous subject that is then seamlessly equated with a political and artistic vanguard that, paradoxically, is presented as both self-organizing and as a model for a truly democratic society. This stance is at the root of what Boris Buden calls ‘the new robinsonades’ that haunt many contemporary theories of political and artistic autonomy.12 Buden denounces the tendency for ‘self-proclaimed autonomy that believes it is able to arm itself with positive contents from its own sources and thus challenge neoliberal capitalism. . . . It needs a pre-historic and pre-political – and thus also a universalistic – identity to be able to become a political subject at all.’13 At best, this leads to moralistic denunciations of the ‘collaborating’ neoliberal art institution (leaning heavily on Schmittian notions of enmity), to the moralistic denunciation of the art world’s ‘elites’, and to inevitable appeals for an avant-garde of the righteous.

Such conceptions of autonomy take as a given that the alternative to neoliberal capitalism is somehow to be designed, and more importantly, that art and politics are somehow on a par since both are in the business of designing things. As Jacques Rancière, whose work often serves as a reference for justifying such correspondences, reminds us: there is a relation of resemblance between art and politics that is not a relation of equivalence.14 In examples such as Staal’s, this relation collapses into equivalence, which leaves curiously unchallenged notions of artisthood and art’s relation to capital accumulation. We witness a similar confusion of resemblance and equivalence in current strategies of hyper-identifying art as labour, in particular as precarious labour.15 The rationale behind this identification is that, if labour is increasingly flexible, if cognitive capitalism has recourse to the immaterial labour of communication, creativity and affect, then the artist is no longer the exception to the rule of labour, but becomes, as we have seen, if not the new model worker, at least a metonymic working subject. Indeed, the notion of ‘precarity’ has effectively been used as a rallying cry attempting to politically align artists and other members of the creative class with the ‘precariat’,16 and to provide the former with a renewed, if not guiding political role. However, these alliances and identifications are problematic: if, under cognitive capitalism, the worker’s greatest asset becomes her symbolic, communicative and affective capital, than obviously the creative class is in a much better position than, say, cleaners and postmen; it is questionable whether the assertion of fairly allegorical relations between types of immaterial labour, based on affective proximities, can serve as an impetus for social and political mobilization.17 As Franco Berardi shows: the generalization of precarity among the workforce is foremost an attempt to dis-identify working subjects from their labour (among other things ‘precarity’ means being perpetually in and out of work).18 Today, it is therefore at best questionable whether labour still serves as a privileged site for emancipatory political mobilization. Structurally, the shift from Fordism to post-Fordism, from productive capital accumulation to unproductive capital accumulation, has resulted in a generalized dis-identification with labour. We might even say that, ironically, the only places where one still is allowed to identify as a worker are the supposed ivory towers of the art world and the world of academic critical theory. Unproductive capital accumulation turns workers into debtors: being in debt is an isolated, passive position; a position of dependency that predates bourgeois or proletarian subjectivity. It is unlikely that we will see labour’s replacements, debt and rent, act as an impetus for sociopolitical mobilization.19 Against this background, artists perform roles that make any identification as a traditional working subject virtually impossible. For Isabell Lorey, artists act ‘simultaneously as service providers, producers and entrepreneurs of themselves’20 – they constitute a fragmented working subject; this fragmentation is accentuated by the ever increasing degree of abstraction of artistic activity: the artist, from producer, is increasingly becoming a mediator for assembling and transmitting knowledge and information; artist, researcher and curator are becoming more and more indistinguishable. This makes for a feeble mobilizing force indeed, which makes any recourse to an unproblematized notion of ‘autonomy’, or the idea of a mobilizing vanguard, obsolete. More often than not, the identification of art and (precarious) labour results in the aesthetization of precarity and informality, reinforcing the notion that precarity is a state of being rather than a socioeconomic condition to be overcome by means of collective engagement.

Liberal-Populism, Consensus and the Public Sphere

Any reconsideration of ‘autonomy’ today, especially in the Dutch context, needs to take into account the issue of consensus. In fact ‘consensus’ might be the dirty little secret of the protests against the neoliberal restructuring of the art world. Jacques Rancière defines ‘consensus’ as the conflation between a socioeconomic model (in this case, neoliberalism) and a supposed national ethos.21 This is exactly what is at stake in the notion of the ‘Hardworking Dutchman’, de Hardwerkende Nederlander. The concept, or should we say: the conceptual persona of the Hardworking Dutchman can be found throughout the political spectrum: from the populist far right – who gave it names: Henk and Ingrid – to the socialist far left, to the now ruling liberal and Christian democratic parties. The Hardworking Dutchman expresses what we could call the liberal-populist consensus. This liberal-populist consensus imposes, by means of national identity, a neoliberal socioeconomic model. The Hardworking Dutchman emphatically does not see himself (collectively) as a ‘worker’, but as a hardworking individual who knows how to take care of himself (ironically, not unlike the very same artists that act as the Hardworking Dutchman’s lazy and unproductive counterpart). Populist, even racist assumptions are thus seamlessly integrated into a larger neoliberal project. As Étienne Balibar argues: this liberal-populist consensus equates the national and the social, and is therefore all the more compelling (we see this for example in the populist defence of what remains of the welfare state: health care and pensions are now the private interests of the Hardworking Dutchman rather than being considered as commons).22 The liberal-populist consensus leaves little room for political citizenship as any opposition to the economic policy of neoliberal privatization is immediately denounced as treason against Dutch morals. The liberal-populist consensus conflates arguments of economic profitability with popular will and democratic decision making; this is why the much invoked Dutch notion of draagvlak (‘public support’, which art is supposedly lacking) is such a poisonous term: it brings together, to the point of indiscernibility, the three mutually exclusive principles mentioned above. The notion of ‘public support’ thus becomes a perversion of the bourgeois idea of art as a common good: if it fails to generate private profits than it cannot be publicly supported, such is the will of the people . . . The liberal-populist consensus is a disjunctive synthesis if ever there was one, but not necessarily in the way Deleuze and Guattari envisioned.23 It is the logic of the ‘and’ that, far from offering lines of flight, effectively boards up the public sphere and public debate. We should add to this the populist rhetoric of the hyperbole which effectively evacuates the political arena of any serious exchange of ideas: those who oppose the populist rant are invariably dismissed as insane, sick, cowardly, etcetera (they are pathologized and never to be taken seriously); the populist re-enactment of the 1980s culture wars clears the public arena from its dissident voices by endless, self-exhausting non-debates: populism thus pays lip service to neoliberal policies, which it consistently albeit never outspokenly supports, by taking out vocal opponents to these policies (the populist political economy is probably best translated as the oxymoronic ‘neoliberalism in one country’).

In this context, autonomy as self-proclamation in the public sphere is a highly problematic conception. It effectively bypasses any analysis of the actual conditions of that public sphere, which, to start with, is always already partly privatized under neoliberalism. The reaction against liberal populism is oddly regressive: although it, to a large extent, relies on the strategies and results of, for example, institutional critique and many other twentieth-century criticisms of the alleged public accessibility and political significance of art and its institutions, it seems reluctant when it comes to acknowledging its own significance within the liberal-populist sociopolitical consensus. In particular under the aegis of theories of cognitive capitalism and immaterial labour, art is perhaps more politicized than ever, yet this politicization, paradoxically, often seems to amount to merely denouncing and discarding the political economy these theories bring to light. Simply dreaming up a counter-hegemony of the commons and the affective against the politics of privatization and nationalist sentiment might not be the most favourable strategy. Fundamentally, the liberal-populist consensus discards the (remnants) of bourgeois and social-democratic culture, of which the public accessibility of art and knowledge was an essential component. Even the most virulent anti-bourgeois art of the twentieth century still proceeded from the public status conferred to art by bourgeois ideology, and its supposed role in such things as democratic and participatory citizenship. Post-Fordist societies are also post-democratic societies, and this has vital consequences for any political role that art might envision. The liberal-populist consensus precisely says that there is no such thing as the common, unless the common is defined in purely negative terms: we have to protect the remnants of the welfare state as long as they serve our private interests (we want health care, albeit as an insurance of sorts for healthy people, and most of all, we desire the police). It thus comes as no surprise that 70 per cent of the Dutch electorate are in favour of the cuts;24 it is unlikely that they will get even a glimpse of the amount of militant mobilization within the Dutch art world today . . .

If conceptions of ‘autonomy’ today mostly hinge on art’s self-legislated agency in the public sphere, it is all the more surprising to see that the architecture of that ‘public sphere’ remains merely an object of denunciation. The liberal-populist consensus endorses the politics of privatization, not just in economic but in sociocultural terms as well. The fragmentation or nichefication of the commons, the replacement of the labouring subject by the hardworking individual, national and local politics becoming more and more a depository for populist resentment (that is: precisely these levels of policymaking art has to deal with): all of these developments cannot be merely rejected as obstacles on the path to radical self-organization, but need to effectively be taken into account in any critical assessment of ‘autonomy’ today. Even more worryingly, it seems that the relative ease with which a certain philosophical lexicon of radical democracy has been picked up by the art world obscures its sociopolitical situatedness and, consequently, political radius rather than enlightens it. It appears as if the rhetoric of demos and event is projected onto the segment of the art world that is not entirely market driven, and that therefore is closely associated with government policies, and that is now championed as the locus of radical democracy. Event-based and relational art that previously acted as the restorer of the social tissue or as spearhead of the creative economy is now wishfully turned into a model for radical emancipatory politics. In reality, however, it is precisely this type of artistic practice that is now under liberal-populist fire and threatens to lose its central place in government policies; a precarious situation that invalidates the radical claims made at the very moment these are uttered.

Therefore, any rethinking of ‘autonomy’ today has to take into account its profound ambivalences, in particular autonomy’s relation to a neoliberal capitalism that, as Paolo Virno argues, produces nothing but ambivalent subjects.25 What characterizes today’s capitalist societies, as well as their critiques, is the absence of a reassuring third term:26 little to nothing stands between individual lives and the processes of capital accumulation. There are no ontological, libidinal or anthropological safe havens. We can no longer be assured of the inherently emancipatory nature of creativity or desire, and therefore these can no longer act as the prerequisites for autonomy. In this context, the voluntarist conception of autonomy makes little sense; in this context, autonomy, as it was in Adorno’s case, is in a sense always composite. Maybe, today, ‘autonomy’ as the conditio sine qua non for whatever radical politics or whatever counter-hegemony to neoliberalism simply makes too little sense to still act as a political and practical catalyst. What if ‘autonomy’ keeps us inevitably stuck in a rather tedious narrative of good news/bad news in which, as the critic Jan Verwoert writes, the good news is invariably that ‘the inherent theatricality of politics puts us [artists, intellectuals and cultural producers] in a position of power’ and the bad news is invariably that, in truth, ‘the potential of art to make a sense that would politicize the crowds is minute and negligible’.27 If invoking ‘autonomy’ becomes repetitive moralistic denunciation, if tackling the inevitable relation between art and capital becomes obsessing about appropriation, and criticism consists of allegories of enslavement, maybe it is time to change the record.

1. Gerald Raunig paraphrasing Kafka at the Autonomy conference, Van Abbe Museum Eindhoven, 7-9 October 2011.

2. Statements made by John Byrne and Charles Essche at the Autonomy conference in Eindhoven.

3. Jorinde Seijdel, De waarde van de amateur (Amsterdam: Fonds BKVB, 2010).

4. See Marion von Osten and Eva Egermann, ‘Twist and Shout: On Free Universities, Educational Reforms and Twists and Turns Inside and Outside the Art World’, in: Paul O’Neill and Mick Wilson, Curating and the Educational Turn (London/Amsterdam: Open Editions/De Appel, 2010), 277.

5. Also, in many cases, this academic institutionalization of art becomes the only available means of making a living as an artist outside of the speculative art market (as Douglas Fogle recently put it in Frieze magazine: ‘If you can’t wait tables, you can always teach’). See

6. See Hito Steyerl, ‘Art as Occupation: Claims for an Autonomy of Life’,

7. Equally, the valorization of art depends on what we might call the ‘derivatives’ of the art world: art criticism, curatorial discourse, media exposure, etcetera.

8. Isabelle Graw, High Price: Art between the Market and Celebrity Culture (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2010), 141.

9. This appeal, again, seems to be a slightly anachronistic notion (one imagines Victorian entrepreneurs with top hats and cigars): What could be the meaning of ‘entrepreneurship’ in a financial economy? This perhaps most of all reveals the disciplining function of the notion of ‘entrepreneurship’: perhaps art has sailed too close to the heart of financialization for its own good and it now needs to be dragged back into the world of the atomized producer-consumers?

10. See Jonas Staal, ‘De hardwerkende Nederlander en de scheppende mens. Een aanval op een van ons, is een aanval op ons allen’, in: Open Noodnummer: Over de nieuwe politiek van cultuur,

11. This is precisely expressed in the project ‘Allegories of Good and Bad Governement’ that was hosted by the W139 arts center in Amsterdam, May 2011; it brought together artists, key figures from the cultural sector and (local) politicians in a carefully designed setting (part camping site, part open office space). For Jonas Staal the project offers a model for ‘a training camp for ideological recalibration and experiments in shared living on a micro-level’; part managerial leadership programme, part ‘re-education facility’, the project could involve a series of discussions between ‘experienced artists and designers’, politicians, aldermen and other prominent figures. See For a detailed critique of the work of Jonas Staal, see Joost de Bloois, Ernst van den Hemel and Femke Kaulingfreks, ‘Futloze wereld: Over medeplichtig kunstenaarschap volgens Jonas Staal’, nY 2011: 11, 342-358; see also Staal’s reply in the same issue.

12. See Boris Buden ‘Commentary on Branka Curcic: Autonomous Spaces of Deregulation and Critique: Is a Cooperation with Neoliberal Art Institutions Possible?’,

13. Ibid., my italics JdB.

14. See for example Jacques Rancière, Les Écarts du cinéma (Paris: Éditions la Fabrique, 2011) and Tant pis pour les gens fatigués: Entretiens (Paris: Éditions Amsterdam, 2009).

15. See for example, Pascal Gielen and Paul de Bruyne (eds.), Being an Artist in Post-Fordist Times (Rotterdam: NAI Publishers, 2009); Pascal Gielen, The Murmuring of the Artistic Multitude: Global Art, Memory and Post-Fordism (Amsterdam: Valiz, 2009); and Open 17 (2009): A Precarious Existence: Vulnerability in the Public Domain.

16. See Guy Standing, The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class? (London: Bloombury, 2011).

17. For an attempt at theorizing such affective proximities, see for example Maiko Tanaka, ‘Notes for Further Action Research’ in Binna Choi and Maiko Tanaka, The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON (London/Utrecht: Bedford Press/Casco, 2010).

18. See Franco Berardi, Precarious Rhapsody: Semiocapitalism and the Pathologies of the Post-Alpha Generation (London/New York: Autonomedia, 2009).

19. See Maurizio Lazzarato, La fabrique de l’homme endetté: Essai sur la condition néolibérale (Paris: Éditions Amsterdam, 2011).

20. Isabell Lorey, ‘Virtuosos of Freedom: On the Implosion of Political Virtuosity and Productive Labour’, in: Gerald Raunig et al., Critique of Creativity: Precarity, Subjectivity and Resistance in the ‘Creative Industries’ (London: MayFly Books, 2010).

21. Jacques Rancière, Moments politiques. Interventions 1977-2009 (Paris: Éditions La Fabrique, 2009).

22. See Étienne Balibar, Droit de cité (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1998).

23. See Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, L’Anti-Oedipe (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1972).

24. See

25. See Paolo Virno. A Grammar of the Multitude (New York: Semiotext(e), 2004) and Paolo Virno ‘The Ambivalence of Disenchantment’, in: Paolo Virno and Michael Hardt (eds.). Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996

26. See Paolo Virno, Multitude: Between Innovation and Negation (New York: Semiotex(e), 2008).

27. Jan Verwoert, Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2010), 98-99.

Joost de Bloois is an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam, department of Comparative Literature and Cultural Analysis. He has published extensively on the nexus between culture and the political. For an overview of his publications see: