The Art of Social Forms and the Social Forms of Art: The Sociology-Aesthetics Nexus in Georg Simmel's Thought

Sociological Theory 26 (4):344 - 362 (2008)
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Abstract

This article examines the sociology-aesthetics nexus in Georg Simmel's thought. The article suggests that it is useful to divide Simmel's linking of sociology and aesthetics into three distinct types of propositions: (1) claims regarding the parallels between art and social form (the "art of social forms"); (2) statements regarding principles of sociological ordering in art and aesthetic objects (the "social forms of art"); and (3) analytical propositions where aesthetic and social factors are shown to work in combination. In the latter case, the sociology-aesthetic nexus moves beyond mere analogy. It is argued that in those instances where Simmel shows that aesthetic factors are central to the social bond the linking of aesthetics and sociology is theoretically most insightful.

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