By Ebrima Kamara
– consumption of the primitive in contemporary fashion
Is the value of art, culture or cultural practice determined by usefulness?
As an experiential learning mechanism ADD [African Drumming and Dancing] has been incorporated in rehabilitating female prisoners in Sweden to improve self-confidence. A management training company, Sewa Beats (http://www.sewabeats.com) adopts ADD to train executives develop useful skills, as teamwork, cooperation, creativity and delegation.
Do and be, discipline, according to Michel Foucault is power inscribed in the body by means of training exercises that portion up and specifies bodily movements in space and time. Similarly, ADD inscribes not only self-confidence in management trainees and female prisoners but becomes culture anchored in the body. ADD can also be seen as a means for individuals to explore peripheral forms of experience/learning that do not conform to mainstream values surrounding aesthetics or subjectivity. The creative exchanges negotiate diverse social movements, ideologies and artistic practices.
The questions of power, resistance, oppression and inclusion are still important. The whole question of respecting cultural diversity and respecting other people’s identity and so on has to be discussed and measures which will safeguard not only culture but also morality, need to be introduced. What has been the impact of cultural concepts and ideas in understanding the nature of culture?
On the one hand, the integration/assimilation discourse focused on issues of difference excludes artists, art forms, artistic products, forms of daily life and social forms of life. And on the other, the margins that determine and isolate particular cultures are becoming ever more fluid.
This is enough reason to reassess cultural concepts and the basis of value judgment; the usefulness of something or someone. The new demography has alternately impoverished or enriched, or both, debate around and strategies and repertoires for political intervention.