Evaluating culture: sociology, aesthetics and policy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article contends that a sociologically-informed approach to aesthetic value can be usefully connected to debates regarding cultural policy. Such an approach can encourage reflexivity on the part of policy makers and cultural arbiters, making them sensitive to their privileged position in social space and aware of the differential levels of access to culture experienced by the public they serve. Furthermore, it can inform research into the process of evaluation that takes place at an individual and collective level. The article advocates research into the dynamics of the evaluative moment, which involves paying close attention to the interplay between the individual or group or community and the cultural object. The ways in which different social groups interact with and evaluate cultural objects will in part be determined by their social origin and levels of cultural competence. However, these contextual factors do not provide the whole picture. To zoom in on the dynamics of the evaluative moment means also to keep the cultural object in sight, to be aware of the properties of cultural objects as well as of the sensibilities and dispositions that enable their appreciation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14
Number of pages1
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2013


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