Sociology of Culture and Cultural Practices: The Transformative Power of Institutions (New Directions in Culture and Governance)

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9780739174814: Sociology of Culture and Cultural Practices: The Transformative Power of Institutions (New Directions in Culture and Governance)
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Sociology of Culture and of Cultural Practices traces the development of the sociology of culture from its origins (Weber and Simmel) and examines the major trends that have emerged in this branch of sociology. It raises issues of cultural hierarchy, of distinction, and of legitimate culture and mass culture, and focuses on new areas of research, including the role of institutions, the reception of works of art, aesthetic experience, and emancipation through art and presents a synthesis of research and debate from France and the United States.

In attempting to understand the work carried out by cultural institutions, Laurent Fleury highlights the power they are capable of exercising: cultural institutions define the spaces in which collective identities, cultural experiences, social practices and ways of relating to art are expressed and crystallized. The power of cultural institutions is often ignored, and the fact that they inform activities, govern practices and encourage individuals to develop a degree of familiarity with culture is unfamiliar to many.

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About the Author:

Laurent Fleury is professor of sociology at the Université Paris Diderot (Paris 7).

Review:

Not only is this an intellectually lively and thought-provoking book, it is refreshingly optimistic in its insights into and theories about how cultural institutions inform and transform cultural practices. Drawing upon both European and U.S. American histories and traditions of sociological thought, Fleury convincingly overturns deterministic notions of habitus, and argues against the idea that the project of the democratization of culture has failed. Fleury returns political and social agency to cultural institutions as actors in public policy and as places where people can experience and express new attitudes, pleasures and values. This is a book that should be read by the cultural managers of museums, art galleries, theatres and libraries, as well as by scholars of cultural sociology, cultural studies and leisure studies—indeed, it is a book to inspire anyone who is concerned about democratic access to the arts. (Danielle Fuller, University of Birmingham)

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9781498536509: Sociology of Culture and Cultural Practices: The Transformative Power of Institutions (New Directions in Culture and Governance)

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