Academic journal article Journal of Aesthetics and Culture

Academic Knowing In/through Double Perspectives

Academic journal article Journal of Aesthetics and Culture

Academic Knowing In/through Double Perspectives

Article excerpt

Copyright: ©2015 M. Melin. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.

Published: 8 December 2015

*Correspondence to: Margareta Melin, School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University, S-205 06 Malmö, Sweden. Email:

This paper is part of the Special Issue: Visual Frictions. More papers from this issue can be found at

The art world and the academic world have existed side by side for centuries (but with a few exceptions). We are now at a point in time where these two worlds have converged: where arts and art forms are found in academic institutions and scholarly methods of knowledge production are used in art schools. These are not easy processes, and there are traditionalists on all sides claiming their own particular ways of knowing and doing to be the most suitable, which have resulted in discernable power play among, and between, academic institutions.1

There are, however, examples all over the world where academic institutions have been created based on the fundamental idea that the convergence of different competences, creating new and exciting possibilities, and thereby bridging the distinction between art/s and academia will create new knowledge and new truths. Having worked in one of those academic schools, I have personal experiences of what excitement and increased knowledge contribution this brings, and also of the difficulties these meetings entail. This made me curious of the usefulness of a double perspective, which led me to carry out two projects on this topic.

The overall aim of this article is to discuss the results of four field studies at academic arts or media schools with the outspoken aim to work interdisciplinarily and bridge the gap between arts theory and practice. However, the research material that these studies provided is vast and only a fraction is discussed in this article. The article thus focuses on two main issues: (1) What happens at these four schools that try to work interdisciplinarily through a double perspective? and (2) Is it at all possible for students to learn academically in/through a double perspective?

There is also a normative aim. Having researched the how and why of working multimodally with a double perspective for 7 years, I myself have seen the surplus value this brings to students' learning processes and to research. I will thus in this article argue for the benefit working and learning academically in-between and through a double perspective brings.

This article, however, starts off with a contextualisation, where my theoretical standpoint as well as theoretical concepts used are highlighted, followed by a brief methodological discussion.


Clarifying the stance of the article, and that of myself, it is situated in the theoretical world of Pierre Bourdieu, albeit appropriated to fit my feminist perspective. To understand the academic cultural knowledge construction, academia needs to be seen as a hierarchically constructed field, generated by power and structured by rules that the players of the field (academics, students, and staff) need to master.2 The prize of the game is the right to define doxa , which in a Bourdieuian sense is more than thought-patterns of a world view. Doxa is also the ways of acting, dressing, and being. It is so self-evident that we see it as common sense. There are, however, those who see through this and try to implement an alternative way of seeing and being, an allodoxa.3

The particular part of the academic field I am studying is that which is outspokenly allodoxic. …

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