Art at the Crossroads: The Arts in Society and the Sociology of Art

Alexander, Victoria D. and Bowler, Anne E.. 2014. Art at the Crossroads: The Arts in Society and the Sociology of Art. Poetics, 43(1), pp. 1-19. ISSN 0304-422X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The arts face a number of challenges in the 21st century brought about by various factors. These include rapid expansion of art markets at an international level, the impact of economic restructuring in public funding for the arts, the increasing dominance of neoliberal models of institutional and organizational success, changes in the definition of artistic work and artistic identity, and changes in the definition of audiences and new modes of arts participation in the face of technological innovations in communication technologies. In this paper, we identify and analyze six major themes central to the arts and the sociology of art: the marginalization of the arts in society and sociology, art and the state, arts institutions and organizations, artists and audiences, and issues of meaning and measurement. We argue that the arts and arts scholarship face a crossroads in the current environment. We conclude with some observations about directions for future research.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


sociology of art, arts markets, art and the state, arts organizations, arts audiences, methodological issues in the sociology of art

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


April 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Apr 2016 14:47

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:16

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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