Archive for March 1st, 2007

Understanding theory

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Understanding theory

I question why I temporarily gave up art practise, and studied in art theory.

The aim of this journal is to emphasize what theory is and why studying theory is significant in culture and history studies. Theory is usually defined as explanations, and concepts organized together. Theories help analyze and uncover the veil of phenomena and events that occur in contemporary society.

The study of theory is both crucial and political. For instance, it can be a way ‘to oppose utilitarianism and anti-intellectualism of the government’s approach to education’. The idea is to encourage citizens to be more critical and aware of how the society is composed. According to Gramsci’s concept of the ‘organic intellectual’, everyone is an intellectual but not all possess the function of it. In other words, all men should not only have a role in the market but also be a critical and involved member in the society.

Theories do not exist for the sole purpose of being studied. They are studied because it stimulates critical thinking and because they relate to broader issues that are political, social and historical. Theories substantiated by our predecessors can be related to contemporary issues and thus support current day intellectuals as they speak to persuade the population.

Successful application of theory in one’s argument makes it more reasonable and harder to question and provides evidence of affinity with other academics. A clear understanding of theory can open one’s mind to the very essences of the subjects studied. In order to propose a new theory, one is required to take into account existing theory in order to be substantiated and eventually become persuasive.