Taste After Bourdieu

15 May 2014 – 16 May 2014

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Chelsea College of Arts

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Bus: 2, C10, 36, 77A, 88, 185, 436
  • Tube: Pimlico, Vauxhall
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Banqueting Hall, Chelsea College of Arts, London, SW1P 4JU The conference Taste After Bourdieu brings together UK and international speakers from arts practice, art education, curation, sociology and cultural criticism to ask - what is the current relationship between aesthetic judgement and social distinction? In response to the influential twentieth century analysis of taste proposed by Pierre Bourdieu, how should we construct a cross-cultural analysis of taste in the twenty first century? Taste After Bourdieu offers an analysis of taste across four key domains — the Museum, the Gallery, the Street and the Home — to re-evaluate the relationship of aesthetic judgement to social distinction for a new era. On Thursday 15 May, the first panel, dealing with Taste and the Museum, considers the fate of the ‘post-taste' museum in Europe, which, while it is no longer required to deliver the self-cultivation of the individual, is facing new strictures on what kinds of taste building it can now assume. Taste and the Gallery, charts a course between the either/or of the sociological reduction of aesthetic experience and an uncomplicated assertion of the autonomous individual subject of taste. On Friday 16 May, Taste and the Street adopts an Asian perspective on public taste that uses examples from street fashion, popular culture and high art to challenge the co-ordinates of a Bourdieusian analysis. Our fourth panel, on Taste and the Home, adopts the cross-cultural ambitions of a Bourdieusian analysis while questioning whether the very act of switching from one context to another or from one geographical space to another, undermines the social mechanisms of distinction that Bourdieu has described. Working within and across these four domains enables us to embrace the Bourdieusian idea of a cross-cultural analysis of taste while questioning the reduction of aesthetics to social distinction that has accompanied it. On the one hand, the reduction of aesthetic value to social distinction has proposed an end to the separation of high and low culture and anxiety about status and respectability. On the other hand, this same reduction of aesthetic value to social distinction is supported by new kinds of personal and cultural anxiety, new forms of cultural institution and new expressions of social and political power. Introductory Panel: Dr Thomas Docherty, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Warwick Dr Laurie Hanquinet, Department of Sociology, University of York Keynote Speakers: 15 May: Prof Tony Bennett, Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney 16 May: Prof Penny Sparke, School of Art and Design History, Kingston University Ticket prices: Non student: 2 day / 1 day = £60 / £35 Students: 2 day / 1 day = £35/ £20 For more information visit the conference website


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