Course detail

Sociology and Art

FaVU-1SU-2Acad. year: 2019/2020

The course introduces fundamental sociological reflections of art as well as key concepts and personalities. In the introductory chapters, the course outlines a plurality of perspectives ranging from the concepts of "art as a social act" through an emphasis on the institutional dimension of the art world to Luhmann's understanding of art as a "generalized system of communication." The course is based on a combination of lectures and seminars. The seminar form assumes the preparation of students in the form of reading a short text in Czech, which will then be discussed.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

Students will gain a basic overview of the sociological approach to art. They will be able to illustrate partial themes through the examples of art thematically related art projects. They will be able to use the acquired terminology and concepts adequately in spoken and written language, as well as to read with the understanding the texts of art provenance.

Prerequisites

Basic knowledge of theory of art, a lively interest in contemprary art and art world.

Co-requisites

Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

Petrusek, M.: Sociologie a literatura, Československý spisovatel, Praha 1990. (CS)
Alan, J., Petrusek, M.: Sociologie, literatura a politika, Karolinum, Praha 1996. (CS)
Clark, Timothy J.: Image of the People: Gustave Courbert and the 1848 Revolution. University of California Press, 1999. (CS)
Kessner, Ladislav.: Vizuální teorie. Současné angloamerické myšlení o výtvarných dílech. H&H, Jinočany, 1997. (CS)
Bürger, Peter, Teorie Avantgard. Stárnutí moderny. Stati o umění. VVP AVU, Praha, 2015. (CS)
Harrington, A.: Art and Social Theory: Sociological Arguments in Aesthetics. Polity, 2004. (CS)
Adorno, T. W.: Úvod do sociologie hudby. Filosofia, Praha, 2015. (CS)
Bourdieu, P.: Pravidla umění. Vznik a struktura literárního pole. Host, Brno, 2010. (CS)
Adorno: Estetická teorie. Panglos, Praha, 1997. (CS)
Becker, S. H. Artworlds. University of California Press, 1982. (CS)
Wolff, J.: The Social Production of Art. NYU Press, 1998. (CS)
Stallabrass, J.: Art Incorporated. The Story of Contemporary Art. Oxford University Press, 2004. (CS)
Belting, H.: Konec dějin umění, Mladá Fronta, Praha, 2000. (CS)
Paulíček, M.: Nikdo se neodváží říci, že je to nudné. Sociologie vysokého a nízkého umění. SLON, Praha, 2012. (CS)
Mc Robbie, Angela: Aktuální témata kulturálních studií. Portál, Praha, 2006. (CS)
Berger, John, Způsoby vidění, Labyrint, Praha, 2016. (CS)
Eco, U.: Skeptikové a těšitelé. Svoboda, Praha, 1995. (CS)
Fischerová, M.: Obraz a moc. Rozhovory s francouzskými mysliteli. Karolinum, Praha, 2015. (CS)
Goldfarb, J. C.: Reinventing Political Culture: The Power Of Culture Versus The Culture Of Power. Polity Press, 2011. (CS)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Teaching combines lectures and seminars based on previous reading preps.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Credit is granted on the basis of completed attendance (70%), active participation in seminars and submission of essay.

Language of instruction

Czech

Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1. Explanation of basic sociological approaches to art; protosociology (Burckhardt, Schucking, Guyau, Taine); differentiation of approaches and paradigms (socio-gnoseological and institutional); contradictions of art historical internalism and externalism (text vs. context).
2. The social history of art (Francastel, Hauser); Hauser and Clark; sociological turn in Aesthetics (G. Dickie) and history of art (Moxey, Baxandall); social dilemmas of the art world (Gablik, Bell).
3. The functions of art in change (Bürger, Benjamin) and in relation to different segments of society; varying approaches of critical and liberal theories (Harrington); the question of autonomy and heteronomy (subversion and affirmation).
4. Author as a product of the art world – "desacralization of creation" (concepts of Berufung, contraction, contagion), forms of "enchantment" (Bourdieu, Zolberg); role and status of the artist in history (Burke, Haynes) and in the present; status inconsistency (elite or hyperactivity?).
5. Creation or production? The sociological dilemma (how to reconcile the pattern of production with its innovations) and its solution in Bourdieu’s application of the notion game (concepts of batch and illusio), typology of traditions and innovation (Zolberg, Becker), role of convention in pragmatics of work (Becker).
6. The path of the work to the recipient; modeling (distribution and commodification) of aesthetic experience; establishing a high culture; canon-producing institutions.
7. Other changes in the distribution of art (from patronage and custom work to exhibition forms), distribution institutions and their influence; the current boom of art and alignment with the corporate sphere (Stallabrass, Abbing), market distribution (Thurn, Velthius, Thompson).
8. Forms of consumption; the critique of "pure vision" (Bourdieu); visual sociology and visual studies (+ image anthropology: Belting, Summers); instruments (Chaplin, Elkins, Sturkenwright); vision instruments – gaze (Jay and skopic modes).
9. Art and its social use (communicative functions); the question of values (anti-essentialist concepts) and the communication (to what extent is the art of communication), experience and understanding (user typology - Adorno); active conception of the viewer (Constrictive receptionist school, cultural and media studies).
10. The problem of high and low culture (Zahradek, Gans, Bourdieu versus Peterson); criticism of social use of high culture and deviance to low culture (CCCS and cultural studies); the question of kitsch and carnevalization of culture (Kulka, Featherstone); conservative criticism (Bell, Scruton).
11. Ideology (utopia) in the artwork from Marxists and structuralists (Lukács, Goldmann, Alhusser) after the CCCS in Birmingham and contemporary visual studies; coding concept, and connotation (S. Hall); symbolic power and self-concept (J. B. Thompson); symbolic violence, naturalization and field fracture (Bourdieu); disagreements of ideological reading (Berger).
12. The power of artwork – subversion and utopian art potential. Innovation as social deviation (Merton), pluralist (artistic fiction as a social alternative, Zuska).

Aims

The aim of the course is to make students acquainted with key topics and concepts of sociological reflections on art. It is based on reading and discussion of primary texts. The seminar form will allow students to test a level of their understanding ability to analyze given problems.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

Compulsory attendance (at least 70 %).

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme VUB Bachelor's

    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional

Type of course unit

 

Lecture

13 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer

Seminar

13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer

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