ISSN 2451-2966


Ewa Majewska

Censorship as the Formative Mechanism of Neoliberal Culture?: The Productive Function of Prohibition


In this article, I attempt to indicate the productive function of censorship based on examples of recent restrictions of creative freedom in Poland, understood as elements of a new political order. Following Judith Butler, I demonstrate how the formative dimension of censorship became the element transforming Polish culture from the domain dominated by its creators into the common sphere, which is also a response to micro-fascist practices of the political authorities. Drawing from analyses of the commons offered by Antonio Negri and Hardt, as well as the idea of the institution of the commons proposed by Raunig and others, I argue that the imperative of creating public theatre expressed by Maciej Nowak has, in fact, already been implemented by Polish society in reaction to acts of censorship. By revealing the productive dimension of censorship, I also encourage an abandoning of paternalistic attitudes to the audience for the benefit of the common good – by means of revolt and resistance, if necessary.


censorship; common good; revolt and resistance; theatre festivals

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Ewa Majewska

feminist philosopher and culture theorist. Graduate of the philosophy, Roman philology and gender studies programmes at the University of Warsaw. In 2007, she completed her doctoral dissertation on the issue of family in social philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Warsaw. She taught Gender Studies at the University of Warsaw (2003); a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley (2009/2010); scholarship holder at the University of Orebro in Sweden (2010); assistant professor at the Institute of Culture of the Jagiellonian University (2011–2013); scholarship holder at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna (2013–2014), scholarship holder at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry in Berlin (2014–2016). She has published numerous scientific papers and essays in Polish and international academic journals, anthologies and art catalogues. She has published the monographs Tramwaj zwany uznaniem. Feminizm i solidarność po neoliberalizmie [The Streetcar Named Recognition: Feminism and Solidarity after Neo-Liberalism] (2017), Feminizm jako filozofia społeczna. Szkice z teorii rodziny [Feminism as Social Philosophy: Essays on a Theory of Family] (2009) and Sztuka jako pozór? Cenzura i inne formy upolityczniania kultury [Art as Appearance? Censorship and Other Forms of Politicizing Culture] (2013), She co-edited the collections Zniewolony umysł II. Neoliberalizm i jego krytycy, with Dr. Jan Sowa, and Futuryzm miast przemysłowych, with Martin Kaltwasser and Dr. Jakub Szreder (2007). She is a member of the Scientific Board of the philosophical journal Praktyka Teoretyczna and a member of the Polish Society of Hegel and Marx; she is also affiliated with the Institute of Cultural Inquiry in Berlin. She is currently leading the research project ‘Wczesna Solidarność oraz Czarny Protest w koncepcji kontrpubliczności oraz «Podporządkowanych innych»’, financed by the National Science Centre.