Art Worlds: Developing the Interactionist Approach to Social Organization

Samuel Gilmore

in Symbolic Interaction and Cultural Studies

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 1990 | ISBN: 9780226041179
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226041056 | DOI:
Art Worlds: Developing the Interactionist Approach to Social Organization

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Writing about symbolic interaction and the arts, one becomes immersed in issues of social organization. The development of an interactionist approach to social structure has greatly benefited from research in the arts, particularly the effort to construct a macro-level interactionist conception of society. An emphasis on an integrated micro-macro analysis is the distinguishing feature of the interactionist approach to social organization. Social worlds are useful as an interactionist unit of social organization because of the dual emphasis on structural and cultural elements. This dual emphasis is illustrated by artistic participants' group construct of an “art world.” This chapter reviews studies in the arts, clustered into production, distribution, and consumption stages, that are of interest to interactionists if not actually done by interactionist researchers. It treats these stages as a technical separation of activities, often not so clearly differentiated socially. It prefers to define the “production” of culture in a generic sense, applicable to all three technical stages including “processes of creation, manufacture, marketing, distribution, exhibiting, inculcation, evaluation, and consumption.”

Keywords: symbolic interaction; arts; social organization; art world; production; distribution; consumption; culture

Chapter.  11398 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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