Aesthetic explanations of the social bond: from Simmel to Maffesoli

de la Fuente, Eduardo (2011) Aesthetic explanations of the social bond: from Simmel to Maffesoli. In: Mele, Vincenzo, (ed.) Sociology, Aesthetics and the City. University of Pisa Press, Pisa, Italy, pp. 59-75.

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[Extract] This chapter challenges the assumption that aesthetic factors are merely surface phenomena or that they divert us from the task of explaining social life. It takes its inspiration from two thinkers who have argued that form and aesthetic style are central to patterns of social life. It will draw on the sociology of Georg Simmel (1968: 74), who argued, 'The more we learn to appreciate composite forms, the more readily we will extend aesthetic categories to forms of society as a whole' (Simmel 1968: 74). It will also examine the thought of Michel Maffesoli (1996a: 39), a theorist of postmodern sociality, who contends that one of the major barriers to understanding contemporary social bonds lies 'in refusing any importance to style, or, more exactly, of atributing to it a secondary place and making of it ... a frivolity'. In keeping with the insight that social life evolves around form, this paper will demonstrate that aesthetic questions are far from being 'decorative' (see Rojek and Turner 2000). However, the relevance of aesthetics to social theory raises the question: what do we mean by aesthetics and what kind of social situations are amenable to an analytical framework based on a sociological aesthetics?

Item ID: 40374
Item Type: Book Chapter (Scholarly Work)
ISBN: 978-8-88-492794-1
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2017 01:57
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160806 Social Theory @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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