9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN02 Sociology of the Arts

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Being an Artist II Building II, C6.10

Literary writing process and epistemology of artistic practice

Professional authors need to have, in addition to literary competence, various dispositions (such the ability to engage in strategic action and have access to various networks) that are to some extent similar for all free-lancers. The sociology of professions investigates these dispositions. However, it is difficult to define literary (i.e. artistic) competence, because the process of acquirement is mostly informal and literary works are not-standardized products. Moreover the idea of artistic excellence is highly normative.
In a research project based on case-studies and interviews we focussed on the micro structures of the writing process, highlighting the epistemic structure of literary writing. In the center of our interest were practical experiences and problem centred processes that occur during the act of literary writing which, in the long term, result in the formation of the writers' professional literary competence. The term ?competence?, as we conceived it, does not refer to a particular aesthetic literary quality, which would be the expression of literary judgement by an audience. Competence in our study refers to a heightened ability to cope with the specific problems and demands of the writing process. Such competence is acquired through practice and is maintained and expanded by constant exercise.
In my presentation I will discuss more epistemological and less sociological issues; however, the insight into the writing process - in general into an open-structuered creative process - is definitely interesting for arts sociologists who investigate the artistic practice and the process of becoming a professional writer.