9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN02 Sociology of the Arts

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Art Theory Building II, C6.07

Is a sociological analysis of works of art possible?

Is it possible to undertake a sociological analysis of works of art? This text pursues this line of thought by considering the arguments for both the negative and positive answers to this question. It attentively examines the main arguments exchanged by the supporters and detractors of this sub-discipline of the sociology of art, notably those relating to the problem of interpretation (how does one sociologically verify this process when it is applied to a work of art?) and to the ways of presenting evidence. The discussion of these various arguments does not lead to the conclusion that it is absolutely impossible to heuristically explore the sociology of artworks in a pertinent way, but to an insistence on heightened vigilance and the formulation of certain principles for the use of sociologists who engage with such an object, if sometimes without the requisite caution.