chapter  4
17 Pages

The Social History of Art: Reinserting the Works into Society

The social history of art and the history of art pure and simple have also converged towards a very similar point, which the phrase 'art world' encapsulates. Social historians of art started by mobilising heavy-handed general causes which were independent of art and which they selected themselves: the economy, demography, a dominant ideology, the elite's representation of its vision of the world. Several paths were open to the social history of art. One way to emphasise the production of art was to examine the image of the artist and reconstruct the representations which go hand in hand with art, giving its ideological weight. Social musicologists sought to restore the work which led to the constitution of the musical field and investigated the way in which institutions codify, stabilise, channel, transmit and distort music. Several musicologists incorporated ideas pertaining to the social history of art into their arguments without thinking that they were revolutionising traditional musicology.