The notion of how Martha A. Nussbaum’s theory of Central Human Capabilities (CHC), and its ideals of internal ways of expressing citizenship, correlate and converges with the recent movement of art making as a social practice. I recognize that 4 of the CHC (Senses, Imagination and Thought, Emotions, Affiliation and Play) are the types of expertise and skills that artists seem to express in abundance. These “prerogatives” that artists take for granted as part of the creative process find a new purpose in artist-initiated projects that in involves the social sphere and community. I hypothesize that socially engaged artworks (SEA) can work towards assisting an audience, participants, non-artists and collaborators of SEA with fulfilling their own sense of an internal life and therefore a sense of citizenship.
There is an emerging literature that surrounds socially engaged art. Contributing to theories that explain SEA are critical theorists, art historians, curators, institutional leaders and as well as artists. I wish that Nussbaum’s ideals (and mine), plus the evolving norms about national, global and internal citizenship be included in this particular art world conversation. Equally, I would like to see how artists and artist initiated projects can embrace emerging political theory and norms in ways that it has not considered.