The Role of Arts in Preserving/Transforming National Identity in Times of Change: Filipino Context


The identity of nation is dynamic and continuously undergoes transformation. Given the constantly changing political, social, cultural and even economic environment the crucial question is how can a nation’s identity be preserved and transformed in the midst of all these changes. While national identity has some core elements it cannot remain static amidst external influences. These external influences bring about changes that can have a positive and a negative effect on a nation’s identity. One aspect of the identity of a nation is its arts which expresses in a creative and aesthetic manner the nation’s core values, ideals and aspirations. In sense it is a part of the cultural heritage of a people and expresses its very identity. In this paper I will focus on the role of arts in preserving and transforming the national identity in times of change. In this context I will discuss what I consider as the three fundamental functions of arts vis-à-vis national identity, namely, the expressive, hermeneutic (interpretation) and critical functions. Fundamentally arts expresses and manifests national identity through creative, imaginative, aesthetic and technical skills. Arts as interpretation forms and redefines the national identity through meaning generation/interpretation. Arts as critique allows a people to have a critical look at themselves and examine the external factors that influence their national identity allowing them to preserve their national identity and enabling them to integrate the positive things from these external influences. As an application I will highlight Filipino arts and identity.

Author Information
Jove Jim Aguas, University of Santo Tomas, The Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2018
Stream: Philosophy - Philosophy and the Arts

This paper is part of the ACERP2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon