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Syndicalism and Art in France before 1914: Propaganda and Prefiguration

Bantman, Constance (2019) Syndicalism and Art in France before 1914: Propaganda and Prefiguration In: Anarchism and the Avant-Garde. Radical Arts and Politics in Perspective. Avant-Garde Critical Studies (38). Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-41042-8

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While the multifaceted interplay of anarchism with art, as well as the visual and literary culture of Belle Époque anarchism have been researched extensively, the relationship between syndicalism and creative arts remains largely unexplored. This chapter traces the mobilisation of arts in the context of pre-1914 French syndicalism, as a propagandist device as well as a prefigurative practice. It argues that art remained integral to the discourse and propaganda of the French syndicalists: access to art was also pivotal to the syndicalist vision and the educational project which lay at its core, as visible in particular in the importance attached to education by French syndicalists, and the place of arts within it. As in the anarchist period, these practices and concerns had transnational ramifications, and a similar interest in art may be observed in other countries. However, the relationship between art and syndicalism was both less symbiotic and more inclusive than in 1890s anarchism, in terms of ideals, propaganda and militant personnel. This difference was important in distinguishing both movements on a variety of levels: the lesser centrality of art to syndicalism partly accounted for its perception as being institutional and narrowly “workerist”. However, syndicalism deployed a broader and less elitist cultural strategy to convey its political message and strategies – thus acting out and shaping a different understanding of political and artistic vanguardism.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages
Authors :
Date : 28 November 2019
Copyright Disclaimer : © The authors 2020
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Additional Information : 'Anarchism and the Avant-Garde: Radical Arts and Politics in Perspective' contributes to the continuing debate on the encounter of the classical anarchisms (1860s−1940s) and the artistic and literary avant-gardes of the same period, probing its dimens
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 27 Jun 2019 14:44
Last Modified : 27 Jun 2019 15:03

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