9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN29 Social Theory

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Contemporary Social Theory: From Phenomenology to Systems Theory Building AA, AA.329

Contemporary Social Theory: Aesthetics, Social Value and Social Improvisation

Following Weber's value distinctions, a stream of contemporary sociology requires the division and separation of social practices, social values and culture from one another for the adequate treatment of each, then seeks their subsequent reintegration into coherent statements. The very disentangling of social practices, values, and culture tends to ascribe each dissimilar operating logics making their subsequent reintegration into coherent statements appear intractable. Aesthetic values and practices would seem to offer the most detached, disinterested (Bourdieu 1984, 1995) social value imaginable, thus sometimes viewed as underlying aestheticisation of social practices and consumer identities (Featherstone 2007). It is suggested that aesthetic practices of music making are integral with social practices more generally by examining Adorno's ideas of aesthetic development as imminent to the current theoretical and conceptual problem of musical materials as social located, and examining attempts to model social action through the metaphor of the improvising ensemble. Evidence is drawn from statements of contemporary improvising musicians Brad Mehldau, Evan Parker, and Derek Bailey, and interview data of international improvising musicians concerning music making and aesthetic change to investigate the relationship of aesthetic practices to social practices and procedures for evaluating adequacy and coherence within parsimonious and empirically based explanations.