When the artistic field meets the art worlds: Based on the case study of occupational painters in Shanghai

Authored by: Chao Zhang

Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Art and Culture

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  September  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415855112
eBook ISBN: 9780203740248
Adobe ISBN: 9781135008895


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Art, with its thousands of faces, often remains mysterious in terms of its value. The Kantian aesthetic perceives the value of art as lying in itself and independent of any external judgement. Bourdieu’s analysis, using ‘the field of cultural production’, however, considers that the value of art embodies the symbolic capital of producers and the relevant genres, schools – in a word, hierarchy of the social space of cultural production. Moreover, the field of cultural production, with its relatively autonomous existence, has homologies with the field of power rather than being its own enclosed domain (Bourdieu 1986, 1993). If the Kantian aesthetic places art in a pure and eternal state for human perception, then Bourdieusian analysis brings art to the social conditions and structure in which art is produced and consumed.

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