Art Studies: Between Discipline And Discourse. Socio-Psychological Aspects

Abstract

The article is devoted to the description of the socio-psychological aspects of the transition of an art critic from a discursive to a disciplinary cognitive situation. The very formulation of this issue is possible in connection with the currently existing division of art history knowledge into discursive and disciplinary knowledge. The actualization of the problem of the art historian’s transition into disciplinary quality is examined through the fundamental difference between the components of these cognitive situations, which are: as a result of the realization of the cognitive activity of knowledge, the principles of organization and expression of the knowledge gained, relation of acquired knowledge to other existing knowledge. As a result, it is revealed that the main obstacle for the transition of a professional art historian from a discursive to a disciplinary cognitive situation is not the complexity of a fundamentally different logic that relies on the basis of disciplinary art criticism, but for socio-psychological reasons. They are mainly connected with the specifics of those particular sub-discursive conventions in which discursive art historians were formed and keep on existing. Meanwhile initial inclusion of subjects (i.e. students) into a different from traditional logic excludes all the social and physiological problems mentioned. Thus, the cornerstone of the transition from discursive to disciplinary art criticism is the education of future art historians, which must be transformed and adapted in a certain way to the cognitive circumstances that are formed by the logic of the science of art - full-fledged disciplinary art history.

Keywords: Art studiespsychology art studiessociology art studiesmethodology of art studiesart theorythe science of art

Introduction

It is clear that a simple statement about art is not yet any form of art history as a science. However, in the situation of the seeming availability of art (it’s not rocket science), it is in the focus of attention of institutional researchers who work in a variety of disciplinary subjects - philosophy, cultural studies, sociology, psychology, physiology, and in general, anyone – politicians, journalists, athletes. And the ease with which any statement is made public, due to the specifics of modern media is common. This information allows virtually anyone not only to broadcast their private or collective view of art, but also aggressively insist on it. At the same time, it is only possible to tell right from wrong if there is either some unambiguous criterion for such an assessment, or such an assessment is made by an authoritative community responsible in the eyes of society both for its quality and for its initial impartiality in the formation of this assessment. It would seem that in the absence of such an unambiguous criterion in art criticism (and, more broadly, in the humanities), the expert role rests solely on those who are professionally engaged in the study of art – art historians who have received special education and are actively involved in relevant processes performing within the discipline and under its circumstances research, educational and organizational activities. But the paradox is that in order for such a community to fully exist (“fullness” here means not only readiness, but also the ability to bear social responsibility for the knowledge that is produced in its conditions regarding the relevant subject area discipline) it itself must be based on equally stringent and unambiguous criteria - it is these criteria that define the specific unique disciplinary identity. However, in art criticism, in spite of its long history, such criteria for a variety of reasons are still in their infancy, which allows not only to apply the well-known “formula” to art history, which relates generally to humanities – there is no humanitarian science but only humanitarian knowledge, but also to build it to a superlative form, thus a priori rejecting any scientific knowledge in the field of art criticism.

In this regard, it is initial to conduct a clear demarcation between discursive and disciplinary (scientific) knowledge in relation to art, which in fact has already been done (Schtein, 2018). This turns out to be possible with the use of certain cognitive attitudes – a transition from a naturalistic to an activity approach to cognition (Shchedrovitsky, 1995, p. 143-154) and management with respect to cognizable permanent reflexive-methodological work (Schtein, 2017). As well as the use of a specific methodological toolkit, which is not peculiar to art criticism – the genetically constructive approach (Stjopin, 2009), the applied activity approach (Judin, 1997; Shchedrovitsky, 1995, p. 233-280), and the ontologization method (Shchedrovitsky, 1995, p. 155-196; Shchedrovitsky, 1996). And an extremely important aspect is the replacement of the expression of knowledge with the help of traditional language means with a formal-logical means (Shchedrovitsky, 1995, p. 257-263).

Problem Statement

However, even the definition of a clear boundary between disciplinary and discursive knowledge in relation to art does not mean that scientific knowledge about art is separated from mere knowledge about art. This is due to the fact that, in addition to the logic that is used for their separation, it is necessary for it to be accepted by the community, which will then be ready to exist in the conditions of this logic. And it is precisely this that turns out to be an insurmountable obstacle to the transition from discursiveness to disciplinary in art history. Art researchers, mainly art professionals, that is, people with special education in the field of art are simply not ready for the transition from traditional art logic to disciplinary logic. This is partly due to the fact that from the very beginning of their professional activities they have been included into a certain tradition that determines their activity. The rejection of this tradition is associated with the rejection of their own professional identity. And at the same time, it dictates the need to either accept something fundamentally different, or a complete rejection of the social status that a researcher had before the emergence of a principled methodologically grounded division of art history knowledge into disciplinary and discursive - in a disciplinary situation based on an activity-based approach to knowledge, any other cognitive activity in relation to the original cognizable itself is cognizable.

Research Questions

Thus, the main research question is how to shift an art critic from discursive to disciplinary logic. That is, in essence, a question of redefining the art historian's research identity, identifying the mechanism of reprogramming the intellectual algorithm that has taken place. And at the same time - this is the problem of changing a certain social status that a person has, as well as the problem of his psychological readiness for such a change and adaptation to fundamentally new cognitive conditions.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the research is to actualize the problem of the transition of a subject that performs cognitive activity from art history as a specific discourse to art history, which functions on the principle of full-fledged disciplinary subjectness.

Research Methods

System-based approach and the method of theoretical modeling are used as the main research tools. However, they will be used without possible formalization, since the main thing here is not the creation of theoretical models, but the fixation of the main aspects related to the problem.

Findings

The subject carrying out cognitive activity is always included in a particular cognitive situation, which determines the specifics of his cognitive activity, from which he cannot abstract (any abstraction simply leads to a transition from one cognitive situation to another). There is a number of components that determine the specifics of a particular cognitive situation:

– focus on a certain knowable (what is learned);

– research impulse (why to know);

– principles of rationing of cognitive activity (how the work on cognition is implemented);

– the tools used, approaches and methods (with the help of what and how cognition is realized);

– the form of expression of knowledge obtained (as expressed knowledge is expressed);

– a productive container for expressing the knowledge gained (in what format the knowledge obtained is expressed);

– the function of the knowledge gained (where and how the knowledge obtained will / can be used).

Similarly, you can select a number of components, the specificity of which causes a particular cognitive situation:

– the formal dependence of the subject, realizing cognitive activity, from its inclusion in the community of subjects, also realizing cognitive activity in relation to the same subject area;

– the nature of the primary function of the knowledge obtained as a result of the realization of the cognitive activity;

– principles of organization and expression of knowledge gained;

– relation of the knowledge gained to other existing knowledge.

In relation to the goal, each of the four components listed, which determine the specifics of a particular cognitive situation, must be considered, firstly, from the point of view of what specification it gets in the disciplinary and discursive cognitive situation, and, secondly, by modeling those social and psychological aspects that are associated with them and arise in the transition from a discursive to a disciplinary situation.

The first component that determines the specificity of the cognitive situation is the formal dependence of the subject implementing cognitive activity on its inclusion in the community of subjects also implementing cognitive activity in relation to the same subject area.

In a disciplinary cognitive situation, a subject that implements cognitive activity, being included in a hierarchical community of subjects, also implementing cognitive activity in relation to the same subject area, is completely dependent on it.

In a discursive cognitive situation, a subject who performs cognitive activity is formally independent or conditionally dependent on subjects who do the same.

The specificity of the socio-psychological aspects associated with the transition from a discursive to a disciplinary cognitive situation, in this case, in connection with this component of the cognitive situation, is completely determined by the nature of the hierarchy that is present in the context of a particular discursive cognitive situation. If the hierarchy is weak, then it is obvious that the transition for the subject will be very difficult. If the hierarchy is sufficiently rigid, then everything will depend on the individual characteristics of each specific subject. If we consider the discursive art history community, then it has a rather rigid hierarchy. That is due to the lack of full disciplinary art history, the actual appropriation of disciplinary status. And it is expressed through the need for the subject to institutionalize in the community through fairly stringent initialization procedures - education, entry into professional organizations of art historians, etc.

The second component of the specifics of the cognitive situation - the nature of the primary function resulting from the implementation of cognitive activity of knowledge.

In a disciplinary cognitive situation, the knowledge obtained as a result of the realization of cognitive activity should be institutionalized in a certain way as a substitution, permissible substitution or conditionally substitution, in relation to the knowable, based on the specifics of the already existing knowledge.

In a discursive cognitive situation, we can witness the absence of a clear primary function that the knowledge obtained as a result of the realization of cognitive activity should perform - in fact it can be any function due to the nature of the interest of the subject realizing the cognitive activity in him, in the context of that discursive unity, which he is in, as well as the nature and specificity of this discursive unity itself – most likely the knowledge gained must be somehow It should be primarily functional for this discursive unity itself.

Socio-psychological aspects associated with the transition from a discursive to a disciplinary cognitive situation, in connection with this component of the cognitive situation, are obvious. The transition of the subject from conditional cognitive freedom to responsibility for the result obtained is extremely complicated. And this is due not only to the fact that the researcher has a certain collective burden of social responsibility for the knowledge produced, but mainly the fact that he has to give up his own "I" in order to please specific cognitive principles. For discursive art critics, this is an insurmountable obstacle in the transition to a disciplinary position. This is mainly due to the fact that initially people come to art criticism not because they are ready to serve cognitive logic, but solely because they love art, they like it, they want to talk about it, and even comprehend it. But to comprehend - in its own way, through the prism of its own personality. That in itself, of course, is not bad, but from the point of view of disciplinary conditions, it is unacceptable.

The third component determines the specificity of the cognitive situation - the principles of organization and expression of knowledge gained.

In a disciplinary cognitive situation, knowledge must be organized and expressed in such a way as to nominally interface with already existing knowledge regarding the knowable, which is in the same subject area.

In a discursive cognitive situation, the organization and expression of knowledge can initially be arbitrary. Socio-psychological aspects associated with the transition from a discursive to a disciplinary cognitive situation, in connection with this component of the cognitive situation, are also obvious. Their explanation is a continuation of what was said about the socio-psychological aspects of the previous component. If in a disciplinary cognitive situation, the expression of knowledge is the fixation of logical conclusions and their explanation, then in a discursive cognitive situation, in fact, literary creativity, in which the subject expresses not only knowledge about the knowable, but his own form of expression. Actually, what we often see in art criticism works that are easy to read, are interesting from the point of view of clarity and amusement of the material but have no relation to knowledge in the strict sense. And in fact, with rare exceptions, this is normal for art criticism. For someone who wants to shift to a disciplinary and cognitive situation it is extremely difficult to overcome it.

The fourth component which determines the specifics of the cognitive situation is the ratio of knowledge gained to other existing knowledge.

In a disciplinary cognitive situation in relation to other knowledge within the boundaries of the same subject area, the knowledge must be original, and to knowledge associated with other subject areas - permissible methodologically inhomogeneous.

In a discursive cognitive situation with respect to existing knowledge, this knowledge is irrelevant, that is, it can be secondary, and methodologically arbitrary, and expressing not only knowledge about the knowable, but the attitude of the subject to him.

Socio-psychological aspects associated with the transition from a discursive to a disciplinary cognitive situation, in connection with this component of the cognitive situation, are quite obvious but yet dual here. That fact is connected with the specifics of a particular discourse. A situation is possible in which the discourse can be quite harsh in this matter and, therefore, the subject is psychologically ready for existence in such conditions when going into a disciplinary position. Or, on the contrary, it is not ready if the discourse is rather arbitrary about the nature of the knowledge produced in relation to the knowledge already existing in the conditions of this discourse. This duality is also found in art history. Since the art criticism discourse is not the same everywhere - it has both geographical specificity and specificity due to specific cognizable areas, then the subject may, under a transition to a disciplinary cognitive situation, be in various circumstances. Initially, existing in a discourse environment in which there are tough conditions for coordinating the knowledge produced to the existing knowledge, it will be easier for him to adapt to the existing disciplinary cognitive situation. And vice versa - the more arbitrary the art critic discourse (mainly due to the historical distance that lies between the researcher and the researcher), the more difficult it is for a discursive art critic to make the negotiated transition.

And the last thing you need to say here. The formation of disciplinary art history based on methodologically rigid principles in no way implies the humiliation of discursive art history and the need for mass migration of art historians from one to another. Full disciplinary art criticism is going beyond the boundaries of the traditional attitude to art and the ways of its comprehension. Discursive art criticism is functional and serves certain social and, possibly, psychological needs of society. For disciplinary art history, it is the part of the subject that sets the ontological scheme of the knowable, without which disciplinary art criticism is simply impossible. Therefore, it depends in part on it. Discursive art history, realizing its other function in relation to the knowledge that is produced in its conditions, can quite qualitatively transform, throwing off the pathos of pseudo-disciplinary art history (this was true when the principles of disciplinary art history were not yet fully articulated).

Conclusion

The complexity of the transition of the subject from discursiveness to disciplinary in terms of art history knowledge is associated not so much with the new logic that it needs to be accepted, but with the nature of the norm of research activity that will need to be met. And this is already connected not so much with questions of knowledge and methodology, as with psychology. Therefore, it is obvious that the more discursive the art historian is psychologically immersed in the specifics of this or that art discourse, the more difficult it will be to transfer to a disciplinary quality. And the more obvious is the fact that, given the initial inclusion of young researchers of art in certain not only logical, cognitive, but also organizational circumstances in which they will then have to exist, the easier it will be to transfer art criticism from discursive to disciplinary.

References

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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2019.07.77

Online ISSN

2357-1330