Renewed Culture Wars and their Malcontent: How to Engage with a Culture of Disillusionment

Laura J. Hetrick

Abstract


I begin with a brief introduction to the New Culture Wars in the US, which are already socially positioned as a dichotomy of perspectives between traditional and progressive political and moral values. Next, while attempting to neither elevate nor denigrate either side, I aim to explore a shared culture of disillusionment that I posit has evolved on both sides. While the leading causes of disillusionment may be instigated by myriad opposing views, the effects of this social occurrence are quite similar. I offer the consideration that instead of disavowing disillusionment and potentially trying to eradicate its existence, arts educators should engage with the culture of disillusionment in themselves, their students, and in our communities, as a call to action to incite profound change within each individual. I conclude by offering suggestions so that arts educators recognize the signs of disillusionment and actively utilize key tenets already extant in art education scholarship and practice to create a more empathic tomorrow.

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