Photography: A Middle-Brow Art

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Overview


“It is one of only a few studies to apply the results of surveys and interviews to form an analysis from a social perspective. It is also important because it reveals aspects of Bourdieu’s theories at an early stage.”—Choice
“The significance of Bourdieu’s work for American studies lies in his powerful argument about the social definitions of popular aesthetics. His insistence that even the most trivial photographs serve social functions can be extended beyond photography and, thus, should be of interest to any student of popular culture.”—American Quarterly
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"It is one of only a few studies to apply the results of surveys and interviews to form an analysis from a social perspective. It is also important because it reveals aspects of Bourdieu's theories at an early stage."—Choice

"The significance of Bourdieu's work for American studies lies in his powerful argument about the social definitions of popular aesthetics. His insistence that even the most trivial photographs serve social functions can be extended beyond photography and, thus, should be of interest to any student of popular culture."—American Quarterly

"The book contains several elements by Bourdieu: an analysis of the role of photography in the family life of peasants and small-town and urban dwellers, and an exploration of the 'social definition of photography,' including a brief essay on how different classes and groups express their aesthetic worldview in response to different photographs and photographic styles. Additional chapters by Bourdieu's colleagues explore the sociology of the camera club, photographic practice and the fine arts, and the nature of photography as an occupation. . . . Sociologists interested in culture will learn a great deal about the operation of a peculiar and pervasive symbolic system from this book. Bourdieu's writing (as that of his colleagues) is intricate, complex, and intellectually rewarding."—American Journal of Sociology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804726894
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author


Pierre Bourdieu is Professor of Sociology at the Collège de France and Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.
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Table of Contents


Preface.
Introduction.
Part I: .
1. The Cult of Unity and Cultivated Differences (Pierre Bourdieu).
2. The Social Definition of Photography (Pierre Bourdieu).
Part II: .
3. Aesthetic Ambitions and Social Aspirations: The Camera Club as a Secondary Group (Robert Castel and Dominique Schnapper).
4. Mechanical Art, Natural Art: Photographic Artists (Jean-Claude Chamboredon).
5. Professional Men or Men of Quality: Professional Photographers (Luc Boltanski and Jean-Claude Chamboredon).
Notes.
Index.
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  • Posted November 29, 2011

    Important study of photography as a social activity

    This is a book about photographers, but not about photography.

    In the 1960s, Prof. Bourdieu and his colleagues undertook a study of photography as a social activity. A half century later, the book remains important for those who are interested in the serious study of photography as well as those interested in sociology.

    Bourdieu explores the social functions that photography fulfills, such as recording key passages in life (birthdays, marriages, graduations, etc.) and then moves on to examine the attitudes of both professional and amateur photographers. This is not an easy read and will appeal only to serious students of photography or sociology. Nonetheless, the study remains relevant today and provides an important perspective in this age of digital camera phones.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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