Art and Social Theory: Sociological Arguments in Aesthetics / Edition 1

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Art and Social Theory provides a comprehensive introduction to sociological studies of the arts. It examines the central debates of social theorists and sociologists about the place of the arts in society and the social significance of aesthetics.

  • provides a comprehensive introduction to sociological study of art;
  • examines the central debates of social theorists and sociologists about the place of the arts in society and the social significance of aesthetics;
  • discusses the meaning of the arts in relation to changing cultural institutions and socio-economic structures;
  • explores questions of aesthetic value and cultural politics, taste and social class, money and patronage, ideology and utopia, myth and popular culture, and the meaning of modernism and postmodernism;
  • presents lucid accounts of leading social theorists of the arts from Weber, Simmel, Benjamin, Kracauer and the Frankfurt School to Foucault, Bourdieu, Habermas, Baudrillard, Lyotard, Luhmann and Jameson.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This timely book successfully fills what has become a yawning gap in the literature. Harrington renews our interest in the classical problems of sociology of art, setting them in the contexts of more recent social changes and developments in social theory, including globalization and postmodern thinking." Gordon Fyfe, Keele University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745630380
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Austin Harrington is Lecturer in Sociology, University of Leeds

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Table of Contents

1 Conceptions and approaches 9
Metaphysical conceptions of art 9
Sociological conceptions of art 15
Humanistic art history 15
Marxist social history of art 17
Cultural studies, cultural materialism and postmodernism 19
Institutional theories of art in analytical philosophy 22
Anthropological studies of art 25
Empirical sociology of contemporary arts institutions 28
2 Aesthetic value and political value 32
Value-relevance and value-neutrality 32
Liberal-humanistic art scholarship 39
Socialist criticism 42
Feminist criticism 44
Postcolonial criticism 49
Sociology, politics and aesthetics 52
3 Production and socio-economic structure 58
Art and social class structure : Marxist theories 58
Art and social evolution : Pitirim Sorokin, Arnold Hauser and Robert Witkin 63
Patronage : the church, the monarchy and the nobility 72
Arts markets in early modern Europe 75
The state and the market in twentieth-century arts funding 78
4 Consumption and aesthetic autonomy 83
Kantian aesthetics 83
Leisure, gentility and aesthetic autonomy 89
Art and cultural capital : Pierre Bourdieu 94
Arts consumption in the US 98
Aesthetic validity versus the sociology of taste 101
5 Ideology and utopia 112
Origins of the critique of mass culture 113
Art in German idealist philosophy 117
Marx, Bloch and Lukacs 124
Art, myth and religion in nineteenth-century European high culture 129
Richard Wagner and Friedrich Nietzsche 133
Sublimation and civilization : Sigmund Freud and Hebert Marcuse 137
6 Modernity and modernism 142
Aesthetic modernity after Charles Baudelaire 142
Max Weber : rationalization and the aesthetic sphere 146
Georg Simmel : money, style and sociability 150
Walter Benjamin : mourning and the messianic 154
Siegfried Kracauer : the redemption of physical reality 159
Theodor Adorno and the Frankfurt School 164
The Frankfurt School reassessed 169
7 Postmodernism and after 177
German aesthetic thought since 1945 : from Heidegger to Habermas 178
French aesthetic thought since 1945 : literary thinking after the Marquis de Sade 184
Postmodernism 190
Beyond postmodernism : autonomy and reflexivity 196
Globalization and the arts 201
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