#konstnärligfrihet: reifikation som förtryckshandling och motstrategi





#metoo, #konstnärligfrihet, reification, culture of silence, exploitation


In the autumn of 2017, more than 2,000 female and non-binary artists and designers in Sweden joined forces in the group #konstnärligfrihet [artistic freedom] to share experiences of sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual violence, and to write a joint petition. Using a media timeline and semi-structured interviews, this article aims to situate #metoo in a larger narrative and investigate how sexual harassment within the Swedish art industry is explained and understood by 13 activists and representatives of art institutions.
Our results show that there is a strong connection between oppression and economic exploitation. The art industry is characterized by precarious economic and social relations, but also by the idea of the genius and elitist ambitions of standing outside the social order and embodying an unexploitable particularity. This combination is crucial to understanding sexual harassment in the industry. A central theme in the interviews was the feeling of grief and frustration of not being allowed to work freely as an artist but forced to constantly navigate invisible but tangible structures. These structures are maintained performatively through various acts of oppression that are part of a reification process, which systematically limits the livability of the exposed identities. During #metoo, this reification process was counteracted and turned against the oppressors themselves through an objectification of “men” as oppressors. Another finding relates to the interviewees’ understanding of sexual harassment as based upon power. Here, the positions of powerful and powerless were not univocal. As power intertwines with desire and vulnerability, oppressive acts can be multifaceted and ambivalent, and take place as part of a dynamic negotiation of positions in the informal economic system.


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Malin Sveningsson, Göteborgs universitet




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Tema: Levbarhet, motstånd och hopp