Sociology in a New Key. Essays in Social Theory and Aesthetics

Helmut Staubmann 2022
This book presents essays that address fundamental issues in social and cultural theory by viewing them through the lens of aesthetic theory. Drawing on the aesthetic theories of Theodor W. Adorno, Gregory Bateson, Jean-Marie Guyau, Talcott Parsons and Georg Simmel, it suggests a new take on basic sociological concepts and methodologies. The chapters cover a wide range of topics, including the sensuality of social action, social construction of unreality, and The Rolling Stones’ enduring success as a reflection of our society and culture.
The book’s title Sociology in a New Key refers to a classic work by Susanne K. Langer, whose Philosophy in a New Key argued for a reorientation of modern philosophical thought based on a thorough account of symbolism in general and of the arts in particular. In this way, the basic ideas and assumptions of the philosophical tradition are transposed to new understandings and perspectives. After all, it was Georg Simmel himself who claimed to have gained several of his general theoretical insights “via the detour of reflections on the essence of art.” The book will appeal to scholars and students of the sociology of the arts and music, and to anyone interested in the intersection of social theory and aesthetics.