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RN02 - Sociology of the Arts

The Research Network Sociology of the Arts aims to advance sociological and interdisciplinary research providing contexts for understanding the multifaceted and interwoven factors that characterize the arts in society, in the past, present, and potential futures. RN02 promotes collaboration and scholarly exchange between European-based scholars of the arts and non-European scholars whose work encompasses the arts in Europe.

The Research Network on the Sociology of the Arts was formed in August 1999 at the Amsterdam General Meeting of the European Sociological Association. Its first conference was held in Exeter in 2000. RN02 emerged thanks to the efforts of Tia DeNora, Anna Lisa Tota, Robert W. Witkin, Jan Marontate and other founding members. It grew over the years to exceed 100 regular members by 2016. RN2 has for many years an ongoing collaboration with the Arts Management Studies Research Stream (AMSRS), as well as collaborations with RN7 (Sociology of Culture) and other RNs.

The Core areas of the Research Network Sociology of the Arts are:

  1. Sociology focused on all particular domains in the 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. Processes of production, distribution, promotion and commercialisation of works of art, including artistic practices, the impact of technology, new means of production, forms of collaboration, the formation of art theory, the development of arts markets, the process of valuation, etc.
  3. Processes of presentation and mediation of the arts including criticism and media publicity in all domains of the arts, museums, theatres, concerts, audience studies, attitudes towards the audience, educational programs, etc.
  4. Professional development including vocational education, art schools, amateurs and semi-amateurs, professional differentiation, artistic income, recognition, reputation, etc.
  5. Arts organisations (not only museums, galleries, theatres, opera-houses, publishing houses, cultural centres but also festivals, unions) – investigation of historical development, power relations, collaboration, program selection, processes within the organisations such as gate-keeping, leadership, etc.
  6. Arts policy (especially sociological aspects thereof) including legal regulation, public and private funding, 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.
  7. Social and cognitive effects of the arts e.g. identity formation, bodies, aesthetic experience, ethics, coding and decoding, gender related practices, ethnographic aspects, arts for social transformation, in communities, and as part of urban culture.
  8. Arts from a macrosociological perspective on e.g. (de-)institutionalisation, economisation, globalisation vs. localism, digitalisation, mediamorphosis, social cohesion, ethics, hegemony, power.
  9. Theoretical development in arts sociology e.g. the production of culture approach, (post)structuralism, field theory, system theory, complexity theories, praxeology, and methodological issues.
  10. Arts and everyday life, including relations between art worlds and lifeworld, the experiential and the sensory, embodied and mediated elements of practice and places, the social and cultural significance of the senses, aesthetics of everyday life, sociological and interdisciplinary approaches to daily and organisational life.