Het soortelijk gewicht van kunst in een open samenleving: de classificatie van cultuuruitingen in Nederland en andere Westerse landen na 1950
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Actors in the field of culture (producers, mediators, consumers, etc,) continuously classify cultural products according to their alleged meaning, style, quality, effects or other properties. Such classifications do not emanate from the content of cultural objects, but are socially enabled and socially constructed events that vary across time and place. Likewise, cultural classification systems – the ways in which members of particular societies classify the supply of cultural artifacts and develop corresponding rules of behavior and practices – show significant variations that seem closely connected to wider social and cultural conditions. This inaugural lecture addresses the evolution of cultural classification systems in late twentieth century Western societies, in particular Dutch society, and seeks to elucidate the impact of wider societal features and transformations on the development of such systems. The author argues that changes in social structure, processes of emancipation and individualization, and the growing role of the market in the domain of culture, eroded institutionalized cultural authority and traditional cultural hierarchies and boundaries, and created more differentiated, less hierarchical, less universal, and more loosely-bounded cultural classification systems than those in place during the first part of the twentieth century. Accordingly, conventional ‘high’ art forms have suffered a loss in status and seem increasingly to have become one of many options to actors in the cultural field.
Rede uitgesproken bij de aanvaarding van het ambt van Bijzonder Hoogleraar in de Sociale Aspecten van Kunst, Cultuur en Media aan de Faculteit Historische en Kunstwetenschappen, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, op 18 maart 2005