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Sociological Causation of Worth Distinction in Contemporary Visual Arts


Affiliations
1 Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
2 Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
     

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The subjects related to the artists, especially visual art and its works, have been always controversial. The differences among the worth of various art works have been referred to a wide range of causes such as qualitative and technical reasons, historical considerations, aesthetical values, etc. Although it seems that these reasons contain neglected social origins and aspects themselves, the merely sociological causes are considered to be of importance in understanding these differences. Focusing on the art creator, i.e. the artist, this article investigates the social causes in worth differences amongst the artworks. The main subject in this paper is to find and understand the merely sociological roots of artwork's distinction in their worth. In the beginning the concepts of art and artists are defined, considering that demonstrating any definition for the artist concept should be accordant to the previously presented definition of art. Meanwhile the field concept in Bourdieu's action theory has been expounded (in order to be used to describe the artist's world instead of class concept), and the institutional theory of defining art by Dickie and Danto has been chosen to describe artist's groups. Then there is a case study on five Iranian contemporary virtual artists based on the comparison of four kinds of capitals. Consequently the relation between the virtual artist's social field and varieties of virtual arts is explained and the hypothesis about the existence of this connection in contemporary Iran is established. Social reasons are in fact, considered to be very effective in explaining the distinction of artworks by their value and worth.

Keywords

Art, Worth, Institutional Theory, Capital, Social Field, Visual, Arts.
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  • Sociological Causation of Worth Distinction in Contemporary Visual Arts

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Authors

Zahra Rahbarnia
Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
Samineh Ansari
Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of

Abstract


The subjects related to the artists, especially visual art and its works, have been always controversial. The differences among the worth of various art works have been referred to a wide range of causes such as qualitative and technical reasons, historical considerations, aesthetical values, etc. Although it seems that these reasons contain neglected social origins and aspects themselves, the merely sociological causes are considered to be of importance in understanding these differences. Focusing on the art creator, i.e. the artist, this article investigates the social causes in worth differences amongst the artworks. The main subject in this paper is to find and understand the merely sociological roots of artwork's distinction in their worth. In the beginning the concepts of art and artists are defined, considering that demonstrating any definition for the artist concept should be accordant to the previously presented definition of art. Meanwhile the field concept in Bourdieu's action theory has been expounded (in order to be used to describe the artist's world instead of class concept), and the institutional theory of defining art by Dickie and Danto has been chosen to describe artist's groups. Then there is a case study on five Iranian contemporary virtual artists based on the comparison of four kinds of capitals. Consequently the relation between the virtual artist's social field and varieties of virtual arts is explained and the hypothesis about the existence of this connection in contemporary Iran is established. Social reasons are in fact, considered to be very effective in explaining the distinction of artworks by their value and worth.

Keywords


Art, Worth, Institutional Theory, Capital, Social Field, Visual, Arts.

References