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Aesthetics in Dialogue

Applying Philosophy of Art in a Global World

Edited By Zoltan Somhegyi and Max Ryynänen

The impact of aesthetics is increasing again. For today’s scholars, aesthetic theories are a significant companion and contribution in studying and ana-lysing cultural phenomena and production. Today’s scene of aesthetics is more global than what it is in most disciplines, as it does not just include scholars from all over the world, but also keeps on applying philosophical traditions globally
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8 Social-Aesthetic Constructs: Peripheral Cultural Phenomena in a New Key (Rodrigo Duarte)


Rodrigo Duarte

AbstractFacing the difficulties of applying traditional concepts of culture, as popular culture, erudite culture and culture industry, to urban cultural phenomena of peripheries of big cities around the world, it would be necessary to develop a fourth concept that contains elements of the three mentioned types, without being appropriately designated by any of them isolated from the others. These kind of culture displays an appropriation of technology alike mass culture, although its actors’ relationship to the culture industry itself is above all rebel and contestatory. Furthermore, this kind of culture inherits from the authentic popular culture its true calling to express the expectations, fears and desires of its community; from erudite culture it inherits its “authenticity,” meaning the ability to project the possibility of emancipation of the whole humanity – even if it comes from a particular group in society –, according to a model established by Theodor Adorno specifically to the bourgeois art. I termed this fourth concept of culture “social-aesthetic constructs,” meaning the cultural phenomena, whose content and appropriation of technology (different from culture industry) are critics to capitalism. Like authentic popular culture, this kind of aesthetic constructs expresses genuinely the material and spiritual needs of their communities, without being so strongly attached to the traditional forms of life from the backlands, as the conventional popular culture is.

Keywords: critical theory of society, culture industry critique, concepts of culture, Hip Hop culture

Defining “culture” in general, as well as conceptualizing other important...

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