Aesthetics and time: sustained and distracted modes of engagement

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This article considers the relation between aesthetic engagement and time. It puts forward a sociologically-based approach that considers social time and its stratifications, and it draws attention to two intersecting temporal dimensions of aesthetic engagement: the sweep of time that leads to the moment of engagement and the particular moment of engagement itself. The sweep of time needs to be explored because individuals, in common with the cultural objects with which they engage, have histories and trajectories which when plotted over time take stable but sometimes relatively unpredictable courses. Zooming in on the particular moment of aesthetic engagement in its sustained and distracted modes will enable us to better understand the extent of engagement as other objects and tasks compete for our attention. The article also draws attention to the stratification of social time and the fact that some are more able than others to possess time and find time for sustained aesthetic engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-161
Number of pages15
JournalCultural Sociology
Issue number2
Early online date13 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


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