FOREWORD


According to me, culture is an active participation in the regulation and fostering of common human values, the participation of full and equal members in the cultural club of humanity. “Creative power,“ of course, is difficult to define, though the concept is clear: free movement, trust in oneself and others, ambition – these are a few formative elements.
Algirdas Julius Greimas

The idea to publish a peer-reviewed cultural studies journal arose from idealistic and unique motivations, unpopular in this pragmatic world – to create an engaging and intriguing space for publications about art, philosophy, philology, and sociology which would unite not only scholars from the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, but also those from institutions of higher learning and academic research in Lithuania, from neighbouring countries and researchers of European culture and address their achievements and expectations.

Interdisciplinarity, as one of the most important requirements of today, will play a large role in this publication. The theme of media, which, at the end of the 20th century became a unifying object for research on culture and communication, is inherent in new theoretical and methodological insights and reflections. Vytautas Rubavičius, in his article “The Impact of Media Theory on Cultural Studies,“ considering innovations form a cultural industry, addresses problematic positions by asking, “how should cultural studies, or humanities scholars in general, who seek to preserve the semblance of truth, behave in the face of industrialization and technologization,“ how does one face the challenge of media theory, and what is the state of cultural studies in Lithuania?

Culture and consumer society, leaders and masters, how government is mediated – these issues are addressed in the publication by Gintautas Mažeikis, in an excerpt from his monograph Po pono ir tarno [After Master and Servant] which is forthcoming from Kitos Knygos publishers. Dialectics, as more than just theoretical reflection or a chosen form of perception, is viewed as a modern way of explaining the contemporary relationship between master and servant, by extolling leadership, enabling a revolution of commonness and providing alternative, new situations as if they were other symbolic worlds.

Aida Savicka, in her article “Networked Identity: An Issue of Integrity,“ discusses the Internet, which creates new forms of communication and culture and has the ability to form and transform personal identity. The Internet, which is open to constant reconstruction of information and giving new meaning to symbols, provides users with an incredible array of choices: “with the ability to appear and disappear in a number of spaces, times, social roles, characters, etc.,“ though how does one avoid getting lost or losing oneself.

As “culture“ and “creativity“ have become incredibly important indicators of “quality of life,“ Rita Repšienė, in her publication “Contemporary Views on Lithuanian Culture: Between Politics, Media, and Reality,“ discusses the creation and fostering of culture in cultural strategy documents. What are the realistic expectations for creativity in Lithuania, when culture is ignored, discriminated against, or eliminated? How do we demand a trust in the power of culture when we are blind in the “economic welfare“ and “high work culture“ paradise of our own creation.

In an attempt to distance from the popular demagogy of the present moment, like a guarantee of success in politics, we present the discriminating reader with texts from the cultural past which have not become obsolete – for example, the following poignant words written by Sofija Čiurlionienė-Kymantaitė almost a century ago: “the seeds of a better, more exceptional life are hidden within us.“ This inaugural issue of the journal includes a reprint of her piece “On the Education of the Nation“ published in 1922 in Švietimo darbai [Writing on Education]. We agree with the words of Naglis Kardelis, that “Sofija Čiurlionienė’s text seems especially relevant for Lithu-ania today.“

Not wanting to deceive our readers “under the mask of very serious realistic narrative“ so that we would be able to “touch on the most important existential concerns“ literary scholar Aušra Jurgutienė presents an excerpt from renowned scholar Wolfgang Iser’s „Teksto suvokimas. Estetinio poveikio teorija“ as the theory of aesthetic reception, which explores the relationship between the text and the reader. A more detailed publication on Iser will be presented in the anthology XX amžiaus literatūros teorijos: konceptualioji kritika [20th Century Literary Theories: Conceptual Criticism], which will be published by the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore.

In trying to find the development and sustainability of “theoretical horizons,“ we present Aušra Jurgutienė’s suggestive article “Wolfgang Iser: Reading Literature – Between Aesthetic Deception and Existential Self-Reflection,“ which delves into generative literary matrices, encourages a surrender to the allure of the text and a surrender to personal desires by freeing our imaginations and fantasies.

Naglis Kardelis writes broadly and provocatively about the source of imagination a philosophy, exploring the entirety of grandeur of Antiquity. He emphasizes the connection found by philosophers in Antiquity between imagination and passive states of consciousness, intermediating between waking life and sleep and draws attention to the statements of philosophers from the Middle Ages that imagination is integral to the process of cognition and thought. In doing so, Kardelis shows the polysemous nature of imagination, of the phenomenon of fantasy in the history of Western philosophy as an important factor in the nature of philosophical thought and the understanding of the sources of Western philosophy.

The ideological roots of German fascism, the structure of the world as perceived by German fascists and the origin of psychological anti-Semitism are several themes explore in Stanislovas Juknevičius’s article “The Black Sun: The Imagined World of Fascists.“ Drawing attention to the fact that in some Western countries, extreme right parties and movements are playing a larger role in political life, the author explores the peculiarities of the source, essence, and evolution of imagination born of totalitarian regimes

This issue includes reviews of the following recently published books: Žemaičių Kalvarija. Piligriminio centro istorija ir dailė XVII–XIX a. [The Samogitian Kalvarija. The History and Art of the Pilgrimage Centre in 17th–19th Centuries] by Dalia Vasiliūnienė; Patirčių realizmas: Dalios Tamulevičiūtės kūrybinės biografijos studijos [The Realism of Experiences: Studies on the Creative Biography of Dalia Tamulevičiūtė] by Ramunė Marcinkevičiūtė; Pamirštoji mecenatystė 1792–1832. Dovanų Vilniaus universiteto bibliotekai knyga [Forgotten Patronage 1792–1832. A Book of Gifts Given to the Vil-- nius University Library] by Arvydas Pacevičius. The reviewers were written by Vacys Vaivada, Rasa Vasinauskaitė, and Vytautas Berenis.

Cultural events – the European Cultural Forum, which took place September 8–11, 2011 in Warsaw and the international conference “Cultural Studies in the 21st Century: Heritage, Identities, and New Rhetoric,“ which took place September 28–29, 2011 in Vilnius are presented by Małgorzata Litwinowicz and Rita Repšienė.

In summary, we will remember the worlds of author, humanist, politician, scholar, philosopher, and one of the most important German minds of the Enlightenment, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, uttered before his death, “Mehr Licht, mehr Licht!“ [„More light, more light!“], which Algirdas Julius Greimas chose as the epilogue for his book De l’imperfection [On Imperfection].

We hope to become a cultural medium in the world created by media and an intermediary between different worlds, between ideals and reality, between scholarship and society!