Art and Society

Readings in the Sociology of the Arts

Edited by Arnold W. Foster & Judith R. Blau

Series: SUNY series in the Sociology of Culture
Paperback : 9780791401170, 513 pages, July 1989
Hardcover : 9780791401163, 513 pages, July 1989

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Table of contents


Arnold W. Foster

Part I. Orientation

1. Without Art
Alicja Iwanska

2. Art as Collective Action
Howard S. Becker

3. Shadows of Anxiety: Popular Culture in Modern Society
Charles Simpson

Part II. Artist and Public

4. The Socialization of an Artist: The American Composer
Dennison J. Nash

5. Ballet as a Career
David Earl Sutherland

6. The Choice of Acting As a Profession
Emanuel Levy

7. Music and Its Audiences Two Hundred Years Ago
Charles W. Hughes

8. Cultural Democracy in a Period of Cultural Expansion: The Social Composition of Arts Audiences in the United States
Paul DiMaggio and Michael Useem

Part III. Patrons, Gatekeepers, and Critics
9. Art Galleries as Gatekeepers: The Case of Abstract Expressionists
Marcia Bystryn

10. Mass, Class, and the Reviewer
Kurt Lang

11. Artist Groups: Patrons and Gate-Keepers
Sally Ridgeway

Part IV. Artists and their Social Networks

12. Music Among Friends: The Social Networks of Amateur Musicians
Robert A. Stebbins

13. The Simplex Located in Art Worlds
Richard A. Peterson and Howard G. White

14. Reward Systems in Avant-Garde Art: Social Networks and Stylistic Change
Diana Crane

Part V. Art Organizations

15. Orchestra Interaction: Some Features of Communication and Authority in an Artistic Organization
Robert R. Faulkner

16. The Orchestra As Factory: Interrelationships of Occupational Change, Social Structure and Musical Style
Stephen R. Couch

17. The Relationship Between Box Office and Repertoire: A Case Study of Opera
Rosanne Martorella

18. Displayed Art and Performed Music: Selective Innovation and the Structure of Artistic Media
Vera L. Zolberg

Part VI. Art and Society

19. The Evolutionary Taxonomy of Culture
Alan Lomax and Norman Berkowitz

20. German Parteilieder and Christian Hymns as Instruments of Social Change
Roland L. Warren

21. Economic Correlates of Artistic Creativity
Vytautas Kavolis

22. Sound and Censorship: Two Crises in the Motion Picture Industry
Linda Leue

23. Parallels in the Social Reactions to Jazz and Rock
Jonathan Kamin

24. High Culture as Mass Culture
Judith R. Blau

Author Index
Subject Index


There is currently no reader in print that provides a broad ranging overview for an undergraduate course on the sociology of the arts or the sociology of culture. This book remedies this situation as it provides students with an overall understanding of the current issues, theoretical approaches, and substantive contributions in the sociology of the arts.

Included are chapters on the aesthetic meaning of art; the social and institutional production of art; the links among audiences, artists, and cultural organizations; tensions between artists and their bureaucratized working settings; the training and careers of artists; relations between art and society; and the dynamics of cultural change. In addition to section introductions, there is a comprehensive introduction to provide students with an understanding of the history of the field, its main theoretical currents, and also to provide them with an appreciation of the contributions to cultural studies by other disciplines, such as anthropology and history.

An extensive bibliography is also included in the reader, which was developed to assist students who wish to pursue research topics.

Arnold W. Foster is Associate Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Albany. Judith R. Blau is Professor of Sociology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.