Much of the argument above has been concerned with the character of social theory, particularly as some influential theorists have tried to apply it to visual art. These accounts have been read not just as social theory but also from what I take to be a position close to that of practitioners and art lovers. I cannot, of course, claim that this position represents that of all practitioners or spectators; it would be absurd and presumptuous to claim to speak with the full authority of the ‘community’. On the other hand, it is reasonable, and sometimes necessary, to try to speak for a social world as one sees it, making no secret of the partiality of one’s position, yet trying to explicate and defend widely shared ideas, values and practices which may be crucial to the good which that world is capable of representing. I have argued that the implications of recent social theory for art worlds, in particular for social processes of creation and appreciation, make necessary this act of hermeneutical self-defence.
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