HomeThe horizon of creation - gloablity and globalisation between utopia and dystopia

HomeThe horizon of creation - gloablity and globalisation between utopia and dystopia

The horizon of creation - gloablity and globalisation between utopia and dystopia

L’horizon de la création : globalité et globalisation entre utopie et dystopie

*  *  *

Published on Thursday, December 10, 2015


Le colloque se propose d’interroger les liens de plus en plus étroits entre l’économique, le politique et le culturel, à l’échelle du monde. Plus précisément, il entend se demander comment l’articulation problématique entre la globalisation et la globalité se traduit dans la création artistique. L’œuvre se fait-elle le reflet d’une dystopie, d’une standardisation réductrice ou d’une utopie, d’une hybridation produisant un enrichissement potentiellement infini ? Comment parvient-elle à rendre compte d’une ambivalence, d’un jeu de tension entre des forces centripètes (que l’on pourrait associer au concept de « globalité ») et des forces centrifuges (que l’on pourrait associer au concept de « globalisation ») ?



As arguments that describe it as a Coca-colonization (Wagnleitner), a Disneyization (Bryman), or a McDonaldization (Ritzer) show, globalization undoubtedly conveys the idea of a dystopian future: it evokes fear of a mass standardization imposed by the dominant Anglo-Saxon model. Yet, as Glissant asserts, this dystopia seems inextricably linked to a utopian potential that rests upon globality, i.e. upon the successful blending of various cultural elements.

To be sure, the process of globality is not new, and has perhaps always existed. However, never has it gained more magnitude and more clout than today. We are indeed experiencing a period of ‘global’ mutation, in which all aspects of humanity are set in motion: culture, naturally, but the economy and politics as well. Culture is the focal point of the groundswell that is rattling society; artists highlight these societal movements through their creations, they criticize, expose and sketch out what our society could become, through varying scenarios, for better or for worse.

This brings contemporary artists to go far beyond the limits of their techniques and genres. Novelists ‘of the world’ write stories about this troubled and troubling world, no longer concerned about ‘writing a novel’. Their horizon is not bounded by paper anymore, which is slowly fading away; it now expands towards the movie industry, the Internet, music, or live entertainment. This elusiveness affects the genre, but is not limited to it; it affects the political as well (consider opera, the quintessential ‘global’ genre, which favored mythological and classic topics in the 18th century so as to deliver a more powerful criticism of the ruling class), through its criticism of totalitarian tendencies and democratic decline, and it affects the economic, through the dual constraint of sometimes substantial funding (as for the budget required to launch a movie or a video game) and an ever-growing audience.

This conference seeks to explore these increasingly close-knit (and noticeable) connections between the economic, the political and the cultural at the global level. Specifically, it aims to investigate how the artistic creation embodies the difficult juncture between globalization and globality. Is the artwork reflecting a dystopia, a demeaning regularization, or is it the image of a utopia, a hybridization that could lead to boundless improvement? How can it relay the ambivalence between centripetal forces (linked to the concept of ‘globality’) and centrifugal forces (linked to the concept of ‘globalization’)?

Main themes 

Four different axes, potentially intersecting, allow us to consider these questions:

1. Crossroads of the arts: how contemporary artists blend several artistic techniques and approaches in their artwork, regardless of their own area of expertise. This encompasses all fields: literature, fine arts, music, live performances, cinema, new media, etc.

2. Inter- and trans-culturality: do contemporary artists draw inspiration from the world? What are the flows in play at that scale, the points of obstruction, and the key strands of action? Is inter-culturality in this situation really open-ended, or is it limited to a collection of paradigms like the ones found in the works of early 20th century cosmopolitan writers, such as Paul Morand? And are we not, in parallel to this openness towards the world, facing instances of identitarian closure?

3. Socio-economic models: this opening to the world also relies on dissemination. Does this necessarily entail a substantial increase of the costs of cultural production, based on the expectation of proportionally increasing returns? Do economic models foster creative diversity or, on the contrary, do they encourage a creative standardization that relies on universal ideals?

4. Political dimensions: this axis embodies similar tensions between openness and closure. Do blurring borders provide artists with a certain freedom and leeway to criticize as they face worldwide stakes (whether they relate to democracy or the environment), an opportunity to be heard within and outside authoritarian regimes (as for dissident artists)? Or should we fear that geostrategic flows of funding – which increasingly belong to governments or private companies that care more about rent-seeking or nationalistic and/or religious propaganda than about protecting democratic values – contribute to this standardization in significant ways, in correlation with their financial aspects? Furthermore, should we be worried about the risk of self-censorship on the part of artists, which could be borne out of a perceived necessity to reach a more international audience without upsetting various cultural sensitivities? In other words, are globality and globalization also in conflict on this axis, in terms of political correctness or incorrectness?

In conclusion, what is really at stake in this reflection is nothing short of a definition of the concept of culture, which brings us back to the 19th century debate that pitted the proponents of the Volksgeist to the heirs of the Enlightenment: is there one universal culture, or are there only independent cultures unintelligible to those who were not born into it? How does the contemporary creation relate to the thorny issue of cultural identities and relativism?

Submission guidelines

Papers can be presented either in English or in French.

Paper proposals (max. 15 lines), either in English or in French, must be sent with the applicant’s short resume

before May 1st, 2016,

and addressed to Vincent Engel with the following e-mail address: vincent.engel@uclouvain.be.


2016 October, 26-27

Scientific committee

Paper proposals will be examinated by a scientific committee including:

  • Durante Erica (UCL - Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique)
  • Engel Vincent (UCL - Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique)
  • Maeder Costantino (UCL - Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique)
  • Maufort Marc (ULB - Bruxelles, Belgique)
  • Reichardt Dagmar (RUG - Groningen, Pays-Bas)
  • Rihoux Benoît (UCL - Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique)


  • Faculté de Philosophie, Arts et Lettres - Place Blaise Pascal, 1
    Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium (1348)


  • Sunday, May 01, 2016


  • globalisation, utopie, industrie culturelle


  • Vincent Engel
    courriel : vincent [dot] engel [at] uclouvain [dot] be

Information source

  • Vincent Engel
    courriel : vincent [dot] engel [at] uclouvain [dot] be


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The horizon of creation - gloablity and globalisation between utopia and dystopia », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, December 10, 2015, https://doi.org/10.58079/u07

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search