Document Type


Publication Date



This article explores, criticizes, and extends John Dewey's arguments about art in relation to public life in a democracy. Dewey believed that art is a potent form of communication through which community is developed and political action undertaken. Although correct, Dewey erased conflict, negotiation and contestation From art, and failed to address the crucial role of power in the world of art. Three distinct kinds of political action through art are developed: pragmatic, deliberative, and confrontational.


This article was originally published in The Journal of Politics, volume 61, issue 1, in 1999. DOI: 10.2307/2647775

Peer Reviewed



University of Texas Press



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.