The Social Impact of the Arts: An Intellectual History

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9780230273511: The Social Impact of the Arts: An Intellectual History

An intellectual history of contrasting ideas around the power of the arts to bring about personal and societal change - for better and worse. A fascinating account of the value and functions of the arts in society, in both the private sphere of individual emotions and self-development and public sphere of politics and social distinction.

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About the Author:

ELEONORA BELFIORE is Assistant Professor of Cultural Policy Studies at the University of Warwick, UK, where she teaches postgraduate courses in British and European cultural policy. Her published work explores the function of the arts in modern societies and the relation of arts policy to other forms of social and economic policy.

OLIVER BENNETT is Professor of Cultural Policy Studies at the University of Warwick, UK. He has published extensively on the politics of culture and is the founding editor of The International Journal of Cultural Policy. He is the author of Cultural Pessimism: Narratives of Decline in the Postmodern World.

Review:

'The Social Impact of the Arts: An Intellectual History starts with today's heated public debate about the 'intrinsic' and the 'instrumental' in the arts, and then locates this debate within a history of ideas that goes back over two thousand years to classical Greece Plato's Republic and Aristotle on catharsis. In tracing this history and revealing that there is nothing new under the sun in arguments about the arts, the authors show how the meanings of some key concepts among them, "the transforming power of the arts", "art for art's sake", "the arts are good for you", "the arts and cultural identities" have evolved over time, as parts of a very long-standing argument. The aims of this book are ambitious: to nourish public debate, to reconnect us all with a rich tradition of thinking, to show how certain ideas turned into commonplace beliefs, and in the end to encourage "a more nuanced understanding of how the arts can affect people". This is a much-needed study, believe me, and a timely one as well: an examination of what lies behind the rhetoric, it fills a surprising gap in the fast-expanding literature on cultural policy.' - Sir Christopher Frayling, Chairman, Arts Council England, and Rector, Royal College of Art

'This short book is a great read, full of fascinating material, which will provide incendiary matter for debates about the arts in society.' - Mark O'Neill, Cultural Trends

'Those new to the field will find this an enormously helpful introduction, while those who are not will often be refreshed, sometimes stimulated, and occasionally irritated. What more could one ask?' - Gary Day, THES

'Its great strength is to challenge readers to question their own beliefs and the necessarily ideological construction of debates about art and its value.' - Francois Matarasso, Arts Professional

'Belfiore and Bennett have produced an insightful study that illuminates not only what lies behind the cultural policy rhetoric, but also what connects twenty-first century cultural policy debates to two millenia of intellectual ideas.' - Nicola Goc, Media International Australia

'It is...a pity that the humanities did not take earlier and more confident steps to marshal the wide range of research already carried out into claims made for the social use of the arts into comprehensive surveys like the present, superlative, "intellectual history" by Eleanora Belfiore and Oliver Bennett... The book's compass and ambition is nothing short of humbling, ranging as it does from Plato to postmodernism, across a range of performative, literary and fine arts, both "high" and "low", and responding to a variety of claims that have been made against, as well as for, the arts... This is managed with exemplary, jargon-free clarity that sacrifices nothing of the sophistication of thought and makes the book an excellent choice for students... One hopes that undergraduate courses in all branches of historical cultural enquiry are able to find room to accommodate such wide-angle approaches to their subjects... Highly recommended to all undergraduate students of the arts." - Chris Jones, THE Textbook Guide

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Book Description Palgrave Macmillan. Book Condition: New. 2010. Reprint. Paperback. Now in paperback, an intellectual history of contrasting ideas around the power of the arts to engender personal and societal change - for better and worse. A fascinating account of the value and functions of the arts in society, in the private sphere of individual emotions and self-development and public sphere of politics and social distinction. Num Pages: 248 pages, black & white illustrations. BIC Classification: AB; JFC. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational. Dimension: 216 x 137 x 14. Weight in Grams: 324. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780230273511

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