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The work of art as paradigm: Giorgio Agamben and the relationship between knowledge and the creative arts

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 17:05 authored by Emmett StinsonEmmett Stinson
Over the last several decades, universities have experienced a strong push from certain sections of the academy to expand the definition of research—specifically to consider ways to include ‘creative’ works under the larger rubric of research. But most traditional understandings of research presume that knowledge is generalisable and transferable. Under these terms the creative work appears to be excluded from the category of research. This essays seeks to examine developments in thought in the Eighteenth Century that not only saw notions of knowledge and the work of art developing on different paths, but also understood the two categories in contradistinction to each other. The goal of this examination is twofold: 1) to understand why the work of art has traditionally not been construed as knowledge, and 2) to suggest that Giorgio Agamben’s concept of the paradigm presents a possible response to this problem, which would enable the work of art to be understood as a form of knowledge. As I will suggest, however, the effect of the account of knowledge in relation to the paradigm that Agamben offers also has the more radical effect of questioning the traditional means by which universities have sought to categorize knowledge as such.


Publication title

New scholar : an international journal of the humanities, creative arts and social sciences






School of Humanities


New Scholar

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