RN2 - Profile

The ESA Network on the Sociology of the Arts was officially formed in August 1999 at the Amsterdam General Meeting of the European Sociological Association. Its first conference was held in Exeter, 1-3 September, 2000.


1. sociology focussed on all particular domains in arts including architecture, urban planning, applied arts, arts within the domain of popular culture (e.g. film, television, and popular music) as well as traditional 'high' arts (e.g. music, visual arts, literature, theatre, etc.).

2. process of production including the impact of technology, new means of production, collaboration, the formation of art theory.

3. process of distribution, promotion and commercialisation of works of art including the development of markets in all domains of the arts, changing strategies of promotion of arts, economic value formation, internationalisation of markets.

4. process of presentation and mediation of arts including criticism and media publicity in all domains of the arts, museums, theatres, concerts, audience studies, attitudes towards the audience, educational programs (i.e. art dissemination through educational institutions).

5. professional development including vocational education, amateurs and semi-amateurs, professional differentiation, artistic income, relation of artists to other professionals, arts management, processes of recognition as artists, the development of artistic reputation.

6. arts organisations (not only houses such as museums, galleries, theatres, opera-houses, publishing houses, cultural centres but also festivals) – investigation of historical development, functional effects, collaboration, power relations, program selection, structures and processes within the organisations, gate-keeping processes, leadership.

7. arts policy (especially the sociological aspects) including legal regulation, public and private funding (sponsoring, patronage), public discourse and debates (e.g. classification of art, arts and religious symbols, arts and sexuality, arts and racism), censorship, analysis of the impact of arts, sustainability, lobbying associations.

8. social and cognitive effects of the arts e.g. arts and identity formation, arts and bodies, aesthetic experience, coding and decoding, gender related practices, ethnographic aspects, arts as a part of city culture.

9. arts from a (rather) macrosociological perspective e.g. (de-)institutionalisation, economisation, globalisation vs. localism, digitalisation, mediamorphosis, arts and social cohesion, arts and ethics, arts and hegemony, arts and power.

10. theoretical development in arts sociology e.g. the production of culture approach, structuralism and field theory, system theory.