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Inclusion and Exclusion by the Arts

Monika Mokre

Institute of Culture Studies and Theatre History, Austrian Academy of Sciences

During the last years special forms of financial support for artistic projects of people “with a migration background” have been developed, more recently with a focus on refugees and asylum seekers. In this way, the arts can open up the public sphere to people who are not part of official discourse and, frequently, lack political rights. At the same time, these artistic projects can also be seen as insufficient or, even, problematic in themselves. For one, these projects frequently take place at the margins of the artistic field and, thus, also of mainstream discourse, thereby, on the one hand, creating a new form of exclusion and, on the other one, limiting themselves to “preaching to the converted”. Secondly, the question arises who profits from these projects, financially but also with regard to increased cultural capital. As it is not possible to give a general assessment of the functions of arts projects with and about migrants and refugees the paper will exemplify its theoretical considerations by discussing concrete projects.

Keywords: migrants’ art, inclusion, exclusion, cultural capital, public spaceMobility as ritual, status, identity.


Monika Mokre

Dr. Monika Mokre is a political scientist with a research focus on cultural and identity politics, European democracy and public sphere, asylum and migration politics and gender politics. She is also a political activist in the field of asylum and migration. Recent book publication:Solidarität als Übersetzung. Überlegungen zum Refugee Protest Camp Vienna. Vienna: transversal 2015 (

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