How sustainable is the world of clever people

Boris Buden
Arts and Society, Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
2019S, Lecture and Discussion (VOD), 2.0 semester hours, course number S02622


In the time of what Anthony Giddens calls “reflexive modernity,” individuals have to engage with the wider, globalised world if they want to act, understand and even survive in it. They will be able to do it only if they routinely interpret and act on the information produced by experts. This is how knowledge becomes constitutive of social life, shapes our identities and makes our planet into “the world of clever people,” as Giddens explicitly calls it. But what if the translation of the expert-knowledge into the languages of the everyday fails disclosing antoher world beyond the one of clever people? Is there any knowledge or reflexivity in this world and how to call it if it is not simply a world of dull people?


Anthony Giddens, Beyond Left and Right: The Future of Radical Politics, Cambridge: Polity. 1994. See especially: Introduction.

Labinot Kunushevci, Interview with Anthony Giddens: “Giddens: We are suffering from ‘cosmopolitan overload’ and a huge task lied before us – to create responsible capitalism.”

Edward W. Said, “Professionals and Amateurs” (49-63) and “Speaking Truth to Power” (63-77), in: Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures, London: Vintage Books, 1994.

The New York Times: How Davos Brings the Global Elite Together

Boris Buden, “Democracy: A Look into Its Guts: With the Eyes of Rimini Protokoll’s ‘Experts of the Everyday’”, Rimini Protokoll, Staat, 1-4, p. 49-61

Examination Modalities

The examination will proceed as a research project: divided into groups according to different topics the students will search for the sites of non-institutional knowledge production and/or various sources of knowledge in the public space of the city of Vienna. Each group will provide a report on the findings and discuss it with other groups. As the final result of the research the class will draft a map of the alternative knowledge production in the city of Vienna.


Students from other faculties or universities will be given a place on the course subject to room capacities

Key Words

globalization, reflexive modernity, expert-knowledge, alternative knowledge public space everyday language translation


19 March 2019, 10:15–17:00 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
20 March 2019, 14:30–18:00 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
21 March 2019, 10:15–16:00 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
08 April 2019, 13:45–18:00 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
09 April 2019, 09:15–13:30 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
10 April 2019, 14:30–17:00 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room

Course Enrolment

From 01 February 2019, 00:29 to 03 March 2019, 00:29
Via online registration

co-registration: possible (2.0 ECTS)

Individual courses: possible (2.0 ECTS)