Aesthetic ecologies: how place shapes cultural production

de la Fuente, Eduardo (2014) Aesthetic ecologies: how place shapes cultural production. In: [Presented at Sociology Seminar Series]. From: Sociology Seminar Series, 24 April 2014, Armidale, NSW, Australia.

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In this paper, I outline a new approach within the sociology of art and cultural production that I label 'aesthetic ecologies'. While this approach is driven by recent concerns about the geographies of creativity (for e.g., why certain types of creativity cluster in time and place) and the economic significance to cities and regions of knowledge/cultural production, there are important predecessors. These include John Dewey's (1936) Art as Experience; Robert Park's The City; Gregory Bateson's Steps to an Ecology of Mind; James J. Gibson's Ecological Approach to Visual Perception; and more recently Tim Ingold's espousal of a 'poetics of dwelling' in Perceptions of Environment. There is also an ecological sensitivity at work in Reyner Banham's Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies; and, indeed, the field of California studies has produced interesting analyses of everything from the 'Palm Springs style of modernism' through to how the personal computer embodies a regional (and also very glocal) ethos. But how to conceptualize the dynamics of place without resorting to a new type of determinism? There is the problem that some of the writing on creativity and place tends to take the global metropolis as its model; and, in addition to glamourizing certain modes of spatial existence, adopts a one-size-fits-all set of policy prescriptions. My argument is that an emphasis on ranking cities or regions according to their occupational structure or the density of their creative networks does not necessarily capture the qualitative distinctiveness or 'genius' of place. In conclusion, I ponder the question: might it be that, in addition to terms such as 'art worlds' (Becker) and 'fields of cultural production' (Bourdieu), the sociology of art and cultural production need a theoretical concept comparable to the wine-making notion of terroir? Or, at the very least, an ability to explain how material and symbolic 'landscapes' shape creativity and the production of aesthetic goods?

Item ID: 40506
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: space and place; aesthetics; aesthetic ecologies; cultural production; creative cities; creativity and place; regional creativity; landscapes;
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Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2016 23:53
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160810 Urban Sociology and Community Studies @ 50%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200299 Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified @ 25%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified @ 25%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 50%
91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9199 Other Economic Framework > 919999 Economic Framework not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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