Making globalization visible? The oil assemblage, the work of sociology and the work of art

Janet Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article sets out to rethink the relationship between the work of art and the work of sociology, drawing on Jacques Ranciere’s writing on the work of art to provide the basis for recognizing affinities and differences between these two processes. In juxtaposing the sociology of globalization with the art of globalization, beginning with their common desire to understand globalization through rendering invisible forces visible, the article suggests ways in which artistic practice might be said to be ‘proto-sociological’, while also considering the role that aesthetic categories play in producing sociological knowledge. These questions are approached through a detailed case study that focuses on the cultural response to the oil industry offered by Ursula Biemann in her film essay, Black Sea Files (2005). The article argues that to grasp a phenomenon as complex as globalization, collaborative work between different forms of knowledge construction plays a crucial role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368–384
Number of pages17
JournalCultural Sociology
Issue number3
Early online date30 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • globalization
  • global
  • oil industry
  • Jacques Ranciere
  • Saskia Sassen
  • Arjun Appadurai
  • visual culture
  • visual sociology
  • cultural sociology
  • new sociology of art
  • asseblages


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