Sociology of Artists

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Sociology of Artists

    Sociology of Artists


    Mozart, Van Gogh, and Baudelaire


    Department of Sociology, Tunghai University

    Spring, 2010

Instructor: 黃崇憲

    Office: SS539

    Phone:(0423590121 ext. 36313


    Office Hours/ Place: Wed.-Thu. 7:30am~8:30am東海大學丹堤咖啡館;請事先約定?

    Class: Tuesday 9:10-12:00

Course Description and Objectives

    Wendy Griswold once remarked that the sociology of art is more like a field of flowers than a field of battle. It has produced impressive theoretical assertions, brilliant but isolated insights and rich veins of research findings, but it has not coalesced as a proper field. Indeed, the subfield of sociology of art has remained relatively under-developed during the past few decades. And people are wondering what sociology can add to our understanding


    of art in contemporary society. To tackle this challenge, the purpose of this course intends to shed new light on Mozart, van Gough, and Baudelaire by deploying the sociology of art perspective. We shall engage a sociological insight into how these artists are shaped by their social settings, and consider the impact that social and cultural contexts have on the way in which artistic products are greeted by audiences. Throughout this course, the central questions the sociology of art addresses will include:

    ; What is art? What counts as art and what does not? Who decides what is art and what

    is not?

    ; In what ways are art and society related? How does the nature of society impact the

    nature of art? How does art influence social relations?

    ; In what ways are the arts and forms of social power connected?

    ; How are the arts dealt in different society?

    ; How are artworks made? What is an artists?

    ; How are artworks distributed to audiences?

    ; What are the ways in which audiences make sense of artworks?

    ; Why do some people like certain types of art and not others? What does a persons taste

    tell us about them?

    This course has thus both a dual structure and purposes. In terms of structure, it is split into two parts. The first part deals with theoretical ideas that inform the sociology of art. The second part shows how the various theoretical positions in the sociology of art can be utilized to analyze Mozart, van Gough and Baudelaire respectively. In terms of purpose of this course, first, it seeks to introduce those with little or no prior knowledge of the sociology of art to main themes, issues and problems developed and encountered by sociologists during the past few decades. The second aim of this course is to study artists

    sociologically with specific emphasis on the issue of artists in society and not just artists

    per se. Certainly, artists are at the center of the production of culture. But they do not exist in vacuum. They conceive of the art and bring it into being with their particular social and cultural context. This course looks at the careers of artists, drawing on labor market studies, and at the dynamics of art worlds. It examines ways that society might try to control artists. This course also discusses how artistic reputations and how these are built and maintained.

Basic Analytical Framework



    創作者 氮費者 經銷商


    Some Preliminary Thoughts about Sociology of Art

    I. The first approximation and Clarification:

    A. Art & Society vs. Art & Social Theory

    B. Sociology of Culture vs. Sociology of Art

    C. Aesthetic vs. Sociological Explanation of Art

    *Aesthetic Explanation:

    a. A purely internal and hagiographic aesthetical commentary of art works

    b. Treated works of art as extractions removed from their social context

    *Sociological inversion of aesthetic explanation :

    a. We do not admire the Venus de Milo because it is beautiful; it is beautiful

    because we admire it.

    b. Sociologists argue that no object has intrinsically artistic qualities and tend to

    see the artistic nature of an artwork not as an intrinsic and inalienable property

    of the object, but rather as a label put onto it by certain interested parties, members

    of social groups whose interests are augmented by the objects being defined as


D. Basic Undertones of the Sociology of Art

    *Re-socialization of art: fully recognize the social nature of art

    *In what ways are art and society related?

    *In what ways does social relations and institutions impact upon the creation,

    distribution and appreciation of artworks?

    *Art as a social reality

    *Art as a social process: Howard Beckers Art World: as a leading form of this

    type of analysis. Art works as the result of collective work effortsin contrast

    with the idea of the uniqueness and genius of the individual artist.

    * Bourdieus notion of the “art world as a field, structured around and by

    opposed forces of artistic orthodoxy and rebellion.

    *The notion of mediation: pay more attention to the materiality of intermediaries

    *Arts diverse and changing contexts of production, distribution and



    *The key concern of art is not creation, genius, and works proper but what makes

    them appears as such. Rejecting subjectivism, the cult of genius and hold that the

    artists self-glorifying discourse is only the precondition of sociology of art.

    * Examine how a particular artist is involved within a particular division of

    cultural labor. de-centering the artist

    E. A Final Dilemma Facing the Sociology of Art:

    ; Without reverting to the autonomous aesthetic comments, how to incorporate

    the material character of works produced and devices used?

    ; How to fill the gap between internal (essentialist) and external (reductionist)


    ; How to provide a grounded and conjunctural understanding of the complex

    interplays between art and society?

    ; A sociology of art, not against art

    ; Some/all fallacy

    ; Strong and weak programs in sociology of art

    ; Do not throw out the baby with the bathwater: aesthetic explanations are


II. Point of Departure: Wendy Griswolds Cultural Diamond & Victoria Alexanders


    A. Wendy Griswold

    B. Victoria Alexander

    C. Howard Becker: His book Art Worlds is premised on the idea that art production

    is work like any other form of production.

    D. Sociologists, art historians and aestheticians should work with, rather than against

    each other.

Class Citizenship

    In a seminar course of this sort, it is my wish that I want the sessions and discussions to be as stimulating and exciting as possible, with a collegial and supportive atmosphere. Pedgogically, this seminar is dedicated to the proposition that knowledge is a collective product. This intellectual journey is intended to be collective; each participant (including me) is expected to contribute to our discussions and debates. Good seminars depend to a great extent on the seriousness of preparation by students. Let us all be good and responsible class citizens to make contributions as much as possible.

    Requirements and Grading: (More specific requirements/details will be announced in class)


Class Participation and Discussion: 20%

    Weekly Issue Memo Prepared for Class Presentation: 30%

    Handbook of Core Concepts: 50%

    The requirements for this course are fourfold. You must fulfill all four of them; do not take this course if for whatever reason you cannot do so. All participants will be expected to: 1) take an active part in discussions ; 2) make at least two presentations on the readings to the

    seminar and two critical comments on the weekly presentations during the semester ; 3)

    prepare weekly issue memos on the weeks required readings ; 4) a critical journal of core

    concepts .

1) Active Participation in Discussion: remember and apply this aphorism of Wittgenstein:

    Even to have expressed a false thought boldly and clearly is already to have gained a

    great deal. So speak up and speak out! What each of you will get out of the course

    depends in good measure on how much you collectively put in. So, play a constructive

    role in discussion: offer your own ideas in small chunks instead of long monologues;

    draw out and ask for clarification of the opinions of others; pose issues and questions

    you may not know the answer to; learn to permit someone to disagree with you without

    feeling attacked; learn to express disagreement in ways that promote constructive

    discussion instead of polarization.

2) Seminar Presentations: Each week students will present that weeks readings and lead

    discussions. These presentations should be 30-40 minutes long for each and should try

    to establish a focused agenda for the discussion that follows. The point of the

    presentation is not to comprehensively summarize the readings, but to provide a critical

    evaluation, focusing on the strengths and weakness of the arguments/analyses,

    comparing different perspectives, and highlighting the most important issues and

    questions they raise as a way of launching the days discussion. In addition to the

    presentations, each week one or two students should play the role of discussant to

    critically comment on the presentations. These comments should be 10 minutes long.

    The presentors should submit their prepared texts through e-mail by Sunday 17:00

    such that the discussants will have enough time to prepare comments/responses. Be

    considerate to the discussants, late submission would be unfriendly to the

    discussants to prepare thoughtful comments.

    3) Weekly Issue Memo: to facilitate collective learning and avoid a situation of

    pluralistic ignorance, every week participants will submit issue-memo to the class as

    a whole by e-mail. I believe strongly that it is important for students to engage the


    weeks readings in written form prior to the seminar sessions. These weekly memos

    are intended to prepare the ground for good discussions by requiring participants to set

    out their initial responses to the readings which will improve the quality of the class

    discussion since students come to the sessions with an already thought-out agenda. I

    refer to these written comments as issue memos. They are not meant to be

    mini-papers on the readings; nor need they summarize the readings as such. Rather,

    they are meant to be a think-piece, reflecting your own intellectual engagement with the

    material: specifying what is obscure or confusing in the reading; taking up issue

    with some core idea or argument; exploring some interesting ramification of an idea in

    the reading. These memos do not have to deal with the most profound, abstract or

    grandiose arguments in the readings; the point is that they should reflect what you find

    most engaging, exciting or puzzling. These issue memos should be 1-2 pages long.

    We will arrange to share these memos through e-mail, and the weeks presenters, if s/he

    likes, can use other students comments to prepare an agenda for discussion. In order for

    everyone to have time to read over other class participants comments, these will be

     imperatively due on e-mail NO LATER THAN MONDAY (the day before class

    17:00. And bring a printed-out copy to the class to the instructor. You are encouraged to

    read and to respond to each others issue memos both before and after the weeks

    meeting. These memos are a real requirement, and failing to hand in memos will affect

    your grade. I will read through the memos to see if they are serious, but not grade

    them for quality. Since the point of this exercise is to enhance discussions, late

    memos will not be accepted. If you have to miss a seminar session for some reason, you

    are still required to prepare an issue memo for that session. Since I may not total the

    number of memos each student writes until the end of the semester, please keep copies

    to be sure of fulfilling the requirements. Students who submit memos should also be

    prepared to summarize/explain them in class.




    4. Keep a critical journal of core concepts (More specific instructions of preparing this journal will be discussed in due course of this class)

?Alternative Option: Keeping a Critical Journal

    This option consists of writing an analytic journal on the issues raised in the course. The journal will consist of a healthy number of typed entries on specific topics generated by readings, discussions, and any other material you encounter. Each entry would normally


    be between a paragraph and several pages in length. The whole journal may be about 20-25 pages in length, and each entry should demonstrate both your knowledge of the reading as well as your own ideas arising from it. Ponder Beth Schneider’s criteria: “Better journals will demonstrate broad knowledge of the reading, integrate materials, compare authors, display thoughtful, sociologically grounded writing. Length without integration, details without analysis, unsubstantiated opinions will not be sufficient.” A journal with a high grade would have both breadth (i.e. will cover most of the weekly topics and readings), and quality insights.

    The purpose of this critical journal is to write a personal handbook of Foucaults work

    based primarily on the readings we will be doing during this semester. For at least some of the topics, you will be expected to do some additional reading by following up some of the footnotes in the assigned core readings or in suggested readings you will be doing for the class sessions. This project should quickly become part of your ongoing work during the semester. If you leave this until the end of the semester it will be impossible to complete the task on schedule.

?Detailed Instructions

A. Concepts

    Your handbook should include at least 10 concepts. At least 7 of these concepts must come from the following list, and you will need to add at least 3 additional concepts of your own to make the total of 10.

    Core Concepts in Sociology of Art

    1. advertising 18. fine arts

    2. aesthetics 19. folk arts

    3. art worlds 20. gate-keepers

    4. artistic field 21. haute couture

    5. artists 22. haute cuisine

    6. audiences 23. hegemony

    7. aura 24. high arts

    8. avant-garde 25. canonical works

    9. commodity fetishism 24. patronage

    10. critics26. periodical eyes

    11. cultural capital 27. popular arts


12. culture diamond 28. reflection approaches

    13. cultural imperialism 29. shaping approaches

    14. cultural industries 30. social boundaries

    15. distinction theory 31. Symbolic boundaries

    16. fads and fashions 32. taste

    17. false consciousness 33. texts

    B. Authors

     Suggested list of scholars in art sociology

1. Adorno, Theodor 13. Griswold, Wendy.

    2. Alexander, Victoria D. 14. Hauser, Arnold.

    3.Appadurai, Arjun 15. Hirsch, Paul M.

    4. Baxandall, Michael. 16. Marx,Karl

    5. Becker, Howard. 17. Peterson, Richard A.

    6. Benjamin, Walter. 18. Pollock, Griselda

    7. Berger, John 19. Simmel, Georg

    8. Bourdieu, Pierre. 20. Weber, Max

    9. Crane, Diana. 21. Williams, Raymond.

    10. DeNora, Tia 22. Wolff, Janet.

    11. DiMaggio Paul. 23. Zolberg, Vera L.

    12. Eagleton, Terry

    What to do in your entries?

    a. There is no set format for entries in the handbook, and no rigid specification for

    length. The general expectation is that the entries will be of 2-5 pages (not

    counting bibliographic citations), but these are only rough guidelines. Entry can

    vary a lot in complexity and length. Some of them can be short, crisp discussions

    of some narrow issues; others can be more extended mini-essays on debates over

    theoretical issues involving the concept.

    b. For some of the concepts you may want to focus on the problem of the formal

    definition (or alternative definitions), especially where the definitions is contested

    in the literature. If you choose the concepts of culture or discourse, for

    example, there is much debate about how to define these concepts which could be

    a useful way of organizing your discussion. For other concepts the central issue

    may be less formal definition and more the theoretical relevance of the concept,

    how it is linked to various kinds of explanations or questions. In a discussion of the

    concepts of power or subject, for example, you might want to focus on such


    theoretical issues rather than formal definitions. And in some cases you might want

    to discuss the historical development of the concept. Of course, you can do more

    than one of these things in a given entry.

    c. Whatever the specific focus of your entry, wherever possible it is good to try to

    clarify debates over the concept and its theoretical status. This is not a

    requirement for all entries, but it is something to keep in mind as you organize

    your ideas.

    d. Whether or not your entry revolves around a discussion of alternative definitions,

    most entries should begin with an explicit discussion of the definition of the

    concept. I recommend that this be identified by a specific section heading.

    e. In longer mini-essay type entries you should use section headings to divide up the

    internal structure of the discussion.

    f. Entries should not be mainly recapitulations of the lectures from class. You can,

    of course, draw on the ideas in the lectures and class discussions, but the handbook

    should be your own integration and reflection on the ideas.

    g. The entries should also include a bibliography of the sources to which you

    explicitly refer in the discussion. You can also include a supplementary

    bibliography of works dealing with the topic which you do not directly discuss, but

    this is less important.

B. Suggested Strategy

    I suggest that you create a directory on your computer for this class and then create a separate file for each of the concepts and authors. (You might even want to create a separate sub-directory for each concept and author). As you do the reading for the semester you can then easily add ideas, summaries, commentaries to each of these. In general you will need to rewrite and edit these entries in order to turn them into coherent pieces.

C. Due Dates

    In order to be sure you are on track on this assignment, I want to read an example of one concept entry and one author entry no later than 27 April. The complete handbook is due on , 2010/06/30.

    About Incompletes: Taking an incomplete is like going into debt with a loan shark. The day the deadline is past, interest starts accruing and the quality of paper you think you need to write grows exponentially. Most of the students I have given incompletes to in the past have taken much longer time and difficulties getting them done, and I have decided I must change my formerly lax policy. You are far better off doing the paper you can do now


than trying to do the paper you wish you could do later. I am wiling to negotiate a deadline

    with you that accommodates your other obligations (e.g. grading responsibilities as a TA),

    but you must meet the deadline. If you realize you have defined your paper more broadly

    than you can execute, speak to me about narrowing the bounds of the paper, not about

    taking longer to do it.


    Alexander, Victoria.2003.Sociology of the Arts. MA: Blackwell.

    Heinich, Natalie, 1996. The Glory of Van Gough: An Anthropology of Admiration.

     Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Elias, N.著;呂愛華譯(2005;《莫?特,探求天才的奧秘》。台匇市,聯經。 Fell, D.著;謝雅文等譯(2009;《燃燒的愛情 梵谷的生死與愛戀》。台匇市,聯經。 蔣勳(2007;《盘解梵谷》。台匇市,天下文化。

    ;《徭之華》。台匇市,洪範。 Baudelaire, C.著;戴望舒譯(1998

    Benjamin, W.著;張旭東、魏文生譯(2002;《發達資本主義敍?的抒情詩人,論波特



    Alexander, V.著;張札霖、陳巨擘譯(2006;《藝術社會學,精緻與通俗形孤之探索》。


    Alexander, V.著;陼浩、沈楊譯(2009;《藝術社會學》。江蘇,鳳凰出版傳媒集團。

?Extended Readings:

     Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Gay, P.著;天悅譯(2009;《我不是阿瑪迪斯,莫?特傳》。台匇市,左岸文化。 Hartmann, R.著;朱彥穎譯(2006;《咬一口莫?特》。台匇市,商周出版。 Mozart, W. A.著;潘保基譯(1995;《莫?特其人其事》。台匇市,世界文物。 Mozart, W. A.著;錢仁康譯(2006;《我是你的莫?特?莫?特書亯集》。台匇市,聯


    Parouty, M.著;張容譯(1994;《莫?特?樂神的愛子》。台匇市,敍報出版。 Salvi, F.著;朱燕翔譯(2001;《莫?特和古典樂派》。台匇市,青林。 Siegert, S.著;楊建明、王金玲譯(2005;《我親愛的莫?特(畫傳;》。台匇市,先覺。 Solman, J.著;林芳如、林欣怡譯(1999;《莫?特的禮讚》。台匇市,米娜貝爾。 Wolff, K.著;陳欣宜譯(2007;《鋼琷音樂大師》。台匇市,原笙國際。 Woodford, P.著;程秓堯譯(1995;《偉大作旮家群像?莫?特》。台匇市,智庫。


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