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This chapter identifies a set of generic characteristics associated with socially engaged art more broadly. If the avant-garde aesthetic is predicated on the assumption that decisive political change is foreclosed, engaged art practice assumes that its potential is not yet exhausted. This entails a different political imaginary and a mode of critical thought that is waged against ongoing forms of repression encountered in the social world beyond the gallery and the museum. This fundamentally alters the aesthetic claims of engaged art, requiring an analysis that is sensitive to the scalar specificity of this resistance as it moves from the reshaping of the individual consciousness to collective political action. The chapter introduces examples to illustrate this scalar range, from the subversive interventions of Iranian women dancing and singing in public to the Tamms Year Ten project in the United States to the Lava la Bandera actions in Peru.

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