The Normativity within Methodology. the Normative Implications of the Sociology of Art Audiences and Cultural Consumption.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Nina ZAHNER, Kunstakademie Duesseldorf / State Academy of Fine Arts Duesseldorf, Germany
The paper argues that there is an orthodoxy of approach to the study of audiences of operas and art museums in the cultural science and art sociology. This approach draws on bourgeoise ideas on art and music (for example on the idea of the autonomy of art) and integrates these in a very subtile, unreflected way in their study design. It thus delegitamizes other approaches to art and its reception practiced by non-bourgeoise groups of audiences. It instead ensures the domination of bourgeoise ideology within established institutions of music and the arts and helps to keeping out other kinds of audiences. The paper shows how different methodologies integrate normative ideas in their study design by drawing explicity or implicitly on prominent social theories such as Pierre Bourdieu, Theodor W. Adorno or Alfred Schütz.

The paper thus shows how these theories do construct opera and arts audiences and how this steadies established power relations within society. It thus takes social theories as empirical material and analyses where these theories do locate audiences in their theoretical architecture and explains why they do so by contextalizing them historically and socially. It makes thus visible how these theories do construct audiences and why they do it this way and how this shapes contemorary research methodologies in the field of audience studies. The paper will close with suggesting a different methodological approach to art audiences. An approach that does not simply reproduce exiting ideologies and power relations but makes visible how and why certain audiences segments reproduce or question existing ideas on art and its reception. To do so the paper suggests an integration of pragmatism and system theory.