Questions about togetherness or about social, cultural and ethnic integration have dominated recent public discourse. The (mostly one-sided) tenor of this debate intimates that it is newcomers who have an obligation to fulfil – a duty to adapt to the dominant majority. The assumption in this context is generally that this culturally dominant majority is characterized by a certain homogeneity and a degree of consensus. But what if the diverse spectrum of lifestyles and identity orientations essentially runs counter to this? What if difference is inevitably inscribed in the integrative process and cannot simply be made to disappear? The Come Together! issue seeks to explore these questions in areas other than the familiar societal “problem zones.” Does the artistic realm offer approaches to inclusion and coexistence that are more promising than the assimilation-driven model that politicians preach? Can strategies of “commoning,” the instituent creation of common goods, be of assistance here? Or is it more promising to be guided by avant-garde practices of radical distancing and breaking with the familiar/habitual when seeking to ensure effective inclusion or to generate any sense of “we?” Is the key to an integrative approach perhaps concealed in its precise opposite, in accepting the disparate and the dissimilar?
Publication date: 15th April 2020