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Title: Bourdieu and the sociology of aesthetics
Authors: Loesberg, Jonathan
Issue Date: 1993
Abstract: Pierre Bourdieus theoretical project begins - not precisely chronologically, but with an intrinsic logic - as the attempt to formulate a method of sociological and anthropological analysis that mediates between simply reproducing the perceptions of the culture studied and a scientific codification of those perceptions that gives them objective shape, but not a shape that corresponds to anything in the workings of that culture. Note 1 Driven by the exigencies of that project, Bourdieu has ended up defining a series of concepts and concerns that has recently revivified among literary critics and theorists an interest in the sociology of literature. In particular, most centrally in Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, he has offered a powerful explication of "taste," in all its meanings from choices in art through choices in dress, furniture, and the like, to taste in food, both as a unified subject matter and as a method for producing and reproducing power differences among social classes. Note 2 In Language and Symbolic Power, he has focused the same analysis on the subject of language, claiming that meaning, both linguistic and literary, depends on the same activities of power and social differentiation. Note 3 And a series of articles on Flaubert in particular and aesthetics in general - which he promises as a next book - has again discussed aesthetics and aestheticism in nineteenth-century France in terms of the same sociological analysis.
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