Beyond the Knowledge Economy: Social Circus as an Intersectional Avenue to Global Aesthetics and Universal Ethics


  • Krysta Rogden
  • Gretchen Alterowitz



While the Western world is a post-colonial society that attempts to guarantee an equal opportunity for success to all, objectives to uphold inclusion efforts in the primary education system often undermine the complexities of cultural histories and oppressions among individuals. The linear narrative of success and spiritual fulfillment, or the value we assign to our lives, in this society is one that often places economic surplus over the holistic development of the individual and of humanity. In disregarding cultural histories and the value of individual fulfillment, the Western world discredits the creative and communal potential of holistic art education in favor of capital capable subjects and class objectives. In this work, I advocate for a reevaluation of success and spiritual fulfillment in the Western world as well as the public education system. To move away from our knowledge economy I propose one solution that includes social circus education as an artistic avenue for developing spiritual fulfillment on the local, person level, as well as compassion on the global, humanity level. I utilize the work of dance scholar, Sherry Shapiro, who also calls for a reevaluation of the human value based on a global aesthetic that grounds humanity in the common desire for prosperity. I also expand on research theorist, Anna Carastathis, and her situational approach to oppression, provisional intersectionality, to foster meaningful art education.

Keywords: social circus, art education, intersectionality, neoliberalism, and ethics