Aesthetics is the examination of art and the appreciation of beauty expressed through judgments of taste. The degree to which the social world and appreciation of art are comparable to or unlike human experience and comprehension of nature is one of the subjects that aesthetics takes into account.
The word aesthetics, created in the German-speaking world in the eighteenth century, was left to the history of ideas with the publication of philosopher Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten’s Aesthetica. According to Baumgarten, it is the study of beauty.
In the English-speaking world, the philosophy of taste predominated aesthetics, which is reflected in the writings of John Locke and David Hume. However, British and continental theories of aestheticization became more and more concerned with ideas of beauty and unity in the arts as the century came to a close. They suggested structural parallels between music and the visual arts in terms of their effects and fueled broader ideas of unity in the arts and sciences, which would continue to develop in the following century.
Because there was more interest in aesthetics in general, Aristotle’s Poetics was translated into English in 1789. In the beginning, aesthetics was considered the study of beauty and its effects. During the latter half of the eighteenth century, knowledge of aesthetics was often seen as part of a person’s social framework.
Late eighteenth-century urbanization, rising audiences, and the status-seeking tactics of more professionalized artists in London, Paris, Vienna, and other European capitals simultaneously contributed to the arts flourishing. During this time, new aesthetic hierarchies were developed by artists and hijacked by art lovers as a tool for establishing and maintaining status.
Sociology and aesthetics
Numerous arts sociologists have discussed how aestheticization, beauty, and worth in the arts and taste have served as tools for negotiating social boundaries. For instance, Pierre Bourdieu attempted to refute Kant in Distinction by suggesting that aesthetics could never be detached from lifestyle and social status but was instead entwined with both.
The emphasis on aesthetics has been shifted and significantly broadened in the work of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory or postmodernists to encompass, as Lash (1990) puts it, “aesthetic signifiers amid the flotsam and jetsam of ordinary existence.” This affirms the “political aspect of the aesthetic” and rejects the idea that art exists in a separate realm. As a result, the sociology of popular culture places a greater emphasis on aesthetics.
Architecture, crafts, dance, engravings, comedy, literature, music, painting, sculpture, theater, urban design, and more lately, film, television, digital art, photography, and even video games are just a few examples of aesthetic expression. All act as platforms for illuminating cultural values, feelings, and points of view in the context of the political, social, and economic environments from which they emerge. Individual or collective expressions of the pursuit of what is attractive and appealing may also be seen in clothing, body art (piercings, tattoos, and cosmetic surgery), hair color, haircuts, cosmetics, and fragrances.
Simmel was essentially the major early sociologist to see the necessity for abstract individualities to be included in what he termed “sociological aesthetics,” which goes beyond just explaining the rationality of conduct. Another addition to this topic is Janet Wolff’s Aesthetics and the Sociology of Art.