Art’s World and the Social World

  • Ian Heywood


I begin with three sociological accounts of art. Each springs from an influential sociological approach and is reasonably representative of that approach. The works providing these accounts are: Howard Becker’s Art Worlds (1982), Janet Wolff’s The Social Production of Art (1981) and Aesthetics and the Sociology of Art (1983), and Peter Bürgers Theory of the Avant-Garde (1984). The theoretical approaches from which the accounts derive are respectively: symbolic interactionism, Marxism, and critical theory. There are, of course, other sociological approaches, and I do not intend to offer a comprehensive survey of extant sociologies of art. However, I will argue that these works raise certain characteristic or symptomatic1 issues for a sociology of art per se.


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  1. 8.
    For example, the Preface and the paragraph just quoted from (ibid., pp. 149–50). Cf. T. J. Diffey’s question in his review (British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 23, 1983, pp. 367–8)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Ian Heywood 1997

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  • Ian Heywood

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