Social aesthetics

Authored by: Ben Highmore

Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  July  2010
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415474450
eBook ISBN: 9780203891377
Adobe ISBN: 9781134026159


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In his book The Comfort of Things the cultural anthropologist Daniel Miller presents thirty portraits of individuals and their relationship to things that they possess (and that, as he will suggest, possess them). He writes:

There is an overall logic to the pattern of these relationships to both persons and things, for which I use the term “aesthetic.” By choosing this term I don’t mean anything technical or artistic, and certainly nothing pretentious. It simply helps convey something of the overall desire for harmony, order, and balance that may be discerned in certain cases—and also dissonance, contradiction, and irony in others.

(Miller 2008: 5)

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