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Contested Qualities

The articles in this book discuss the notion of quality from a variety of perspectives.


How is value negotiated in the arts and culture? What is quality? And what does it entail to talk about qualiti in an artistic and cultural context?

The ten articles in Contested Qualities discuss such questions from a variety of perpectives. They refleect on the conceptual and historical background for the discussion about quality, they analyse quality from the perspective of critical theory, and they raise the question: On which grounds - if common grounds can be found - is aesthetic and cultural value evaluated today?

The book does not offer any clear-cut definition of quality or waterproof methodology for the assessment of artistic or cultural value. In fact, many of the articles highlight and analyse situations where contrasting notions of quality collide, or seem to. Thus, the common ground for aesthetic and cultural evaluations seems to be the ongoing negotiations between conflicting notions of quality. It is precisely in the critical discourse about different artistic and cultural expressions, and in the negotiations between different perspectives on art and culture, that quality is established.

Contested Qualities results from a research programme initiated by Arts Council Norway. The book's articles are selected and translated from two anthologies published in Norwegian: Kvalitetsforståelser (Notions of Quality, 2016) and Kvalitetsforhandlinger (Negotiating Quality, 2018).

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Contested Qualities