The Uses of Art: Contemporary Changes in Cultural Consumption and the Function of Art


  • Birgit Eriksson Aesthetics and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark



Art, cultural consumption, omnivore, cosmopolitanism, commonality, liquid modernity


In recent years aesthetics and cosmopolitanism have been linked in new ways. On the one hand, contemporary research in the sociology of art indicates an increasing openness and a potential cosmopolitanism in aesthetic taste and consumption. On the other hand, aesthetic concepts and ideals play an important but often implicit role in some of the theories of globalization and cosmopolitanism that inform cultural studies. By examining the interaction between these two tendencies and relating it to sociological and aesthetic theories, I will discuss the characteristics and the possible social implications of the apparent new openness. Does it indicate an increasing tolerance and commonality? Or does it rather point towards a new and more individualized understanding of the social function and legitimacy of art?


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