The Art of Reconstructing a Shared Responsibility: Institutional Work of a Transnational Commons

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The author examines how the production of art may constitute an important form of institutional work and legitimating rhetoric for institutional change. With a case study on the design process of a work of art calling to mind the common responsibility to protect the Baltic Sea, she identifies three mechanisms through which an artistic form of institutional work is performed. They are (a) creating emotional response by generating a sense of nostalgia over a lost common experience,(b) educating by constructing a mnemonic device that educates the audience and constructs the commons as a shared category, and (c) empowering that gives marginalized actors power to participate in protecting the commons. The study shows how artists, through their art, contribute to the creation of a shared material and symbolic space that helps construct mutual responsibility for collective resources such as the world’s seas and oceans.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKnowledge and Institutions
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-75328-7
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameKnowledge and Space
PublisherSpringer, Cham


  • Institutional work
  • visual and material
  • emotion
  • art
  • positive institutional work


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