Constructing a Sociology of the Arts

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 23, 1990 - Art - 252 pages
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At a time when a pile of bricks is displayed in a museum, when music is composed for performance underwater, and the boundaries between popular and fine art are fluid, conventional understandings of art are strained in describing what art is, what it includes or excludes, whether and how it should be evaluated, and what importance should be assigned the arts in society.

In this book, Vera Zolberg examines diverse theoretical approaches to the study of the arts. Ranging over humanistic and social scientific views representing a variety of scholarly traditions, American and European, she then develops a sociological approach that evaluates the institutional, economic, and political influences on the creation of art, while also affirming the importance of the question of artistic quality. The author examines the arts in the social contexts in which they are created and appreciated, focusing on the ways in which people become artists, the institutions in which their careers develop, the supports and pressures they face, the publics they need to please, and the political forces with which they must contend.

Particular subjects covered include the process by which works are created and "re-created" at different times, with changed meanings, and for new social uses; the role of the audience in the realization of artistic experiences; the social consequences of taste preferences; the reasons for change in artistic styles and for the coexistence of many art forms and styles.

 

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Contents

What is art? What is the sociology of art?
1
Why sociologists have neglected the arts and why this is changing
29
Studying the art object sociologically
53
The art object as social process
79
Are artists born or made?
107
Structural support audiences and the social uses of art
136
How the arts change and why
162
Where does the sociology of art stand and where is it going?
192
References
217
Index
237
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Page 219 - La constitution du champ de la bande dessinée », Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, n° 1, janvier 1975, pp.

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