A Critique of Knowledge-based Arts Education: Ars Gratia Artis Through Rancière’s Aesthetics

Thanh Phùng, Lynn Fendler


We are interested in contrasts between ‘art for art’s sake’ and instrumental justifications for art in education. Surprisingly, it seems that current mainstream discourses of arts education tend to inflect the term ‘art for art’s sake’ with instrumental qualities. This paper examines the scene of Discipline-Based Arts Education (DBAE) in contemporary United States and critiques the instrumental setup of ‘art for art’s sake’ endorsed by DBAE. It also suggests an alternative framework to think about ‘art for art’s sake’ in the education of art from Rancière’s political and aesthetic theory.


Rancière; Knowledge; Aesthetics; Equality; Arts Education.

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Sisyphus - Journal of EducationISSN: 2182-8474 (Print) | 2182-9640 (Online)Instituto de Educação da Universidade de Lisboa (publisher)