Cultural Dimensions of Everyday Life
Since the latter half of the 20th century the concept of culture has been broadened beyond the "arts" or "artists", beyond its use as a marker of high and low socio-political positioning and beyond grandiose paradigms or ideological movements which reinforce the latter. In recent decades there has been a "return to the senses", to the anthropological, sociological and archaeological roots of culture. For example, traditional arts - or "folk culture" - gained new attention, inter alia because of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003). Other dimensions of society including economics, politics, social organisation, law or education have also been shown to be indivisibly linked to culture and its development. This broadening of the conceptual boundaries of culture, enables us to examine both the role of the avant-garde or "research" artist while at the same time, acknowledging that culture, defined as a "way of life", shapes many different societal activities from journalism to eco-farming.
The ERICarts Institute benefits from working in research teams composed of experts coming from a broad range of academic disciplines including political science, sociology, communication research, anthropology, economics or law. This interaction of ideas has led to the development of studies which explore, for example, the role food/cuisine plays in the culture of everyday life and how it contributes to social cohesion, cultural change, ecological progress and economic development. One of the main messages resulting from such studies is the increasing need to balance unsustainable consumerism and mass cultural consumption with freedom of expression, freedom of choice and the benefits of co-operation, appreciation of non-tangible aspects of every day life, community and conviviality.