A Note on Nick Zangwill's 'Against the Sociology of Art'

Fowler, B. (2003) A Note on Nick Zangwill's 'Against the Sociology of Art'. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 33(3), pp. 363-374.

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Zangwill's recent article offers a provocative & compelling account of the alleged deficiencies of the sociology of art. However, his main targets -- christened, respectively, 'production & skepticism' & 'consumption skepticism' -- are, in fact, only decontextualised & one-sided caricatures of the leading theories in this area. Zangwill has misrepresented some of the discipline's leading theorists including Bourdieu, Eagleton, Pollock, & Wolff. His own 'aesthetic' explanation of artistic acts appears, at first glance, attractive, not least for its repudiation of radical sociological reductionism. But it turns out to be altogether too simplistic an alternative. Zangwill is a sociological 'primitive' who understands adequately neither how society exists in the mind itself, nor, paradoxically, in artists' embodied sense of the right feel for the game. A less 'enchanted' approach to artists' practices is required. This needs to stress both artists' role in the public sphere & also their specific interests in the artistic field.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Sociology of Art, Theoretical Problems
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fowler, Professor Bridget
Authors: Fowler, B.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Philosophy of the Social Sciences

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