On 6 June, as a guest of the Institute of Social Sciences, an author and university professor Igor Štiks participated in the discussion titled “How Does Literature Change the World? And Why Is It Needed by Social Sciences… and the Left?” The discussion started from his novel “W” in which Štiks offers a depiction of the failed revolution and collapse of the Left from 1968 until today.
Relying on theorist of drama Hans-Thies Lehmann, in his short introductory address Štiks contextualised his novel in the aesthetics of resistance, i.e. aesthetics of rebellion, also making a reference to the so-called militant research, a research concept which not only strives to connect and integrate academic work and political activism in an objective way, but in some cases to also emphasise them through works of art.
The conversation that ensued involved discussion on the extent to which the two protagonists of the novel share the typical destiny of leftist thinkers and activists, and on whether the disappointment in the ideas and turning to the diametrically opposite ideology is a specific characteristic of the proponents of leftist ideas. The discussion also involved violence as a(n il)legitimate manner of fighting for leftist ideas, but also whether and to what extent should activists and movements of the Left should de-radicalise their internal ambitions, and whether the intention to fully objectivise history in fact leads to the relativisation and further marginalisation of the Left.
Finally, using the example of leftist movements in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, it was considered to what extent it is necessary to accept political action not in the domain of ideas, but within the scope of what is realistically possible.
The lecture was a part of the Regional Tea Party series, organised this year under the subtitle “The Left” by the Institute of Social Sciences in cooperation with the Academic Network for Cooperation in South East Europe.