Publication details

More than just a product : Strengthening literature in sociological analysis



Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Sociology compass
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Sociology of literature; literary production; publishing industry; reflection theory; literary field; aesthetic experience; cultural meaning; reading; phenomenology of reading; Pierre Bourdieu; Bruno Latour; Franco Moretti
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Description Contemporary sociology of literature is predominantly shaped by the research of literary production, which approaches literary works as black boxes and subordinates them to social interactions and institutions. Even sociologists who recognize usefulness of literature for its inner quality often look at literary texts as mere passive objects to be translated into sociological discourse. In proposing a new sociology of literature, I first briefly outline the history of sociological studies of literature; second, I introduce “the state of the art” in the sociology of literature; third, I explore the relationship between sociology and literature in more general terms; and lastly, I discuss approaches and ideas with the potential to become components of a new research program, which would be a powerful alternative to the mainstream paradigms in sociological studies of literature. Such a program would make it clear that sociology can greatly benefit from cooperation with literature when sociologists are sensitive to the subtleties and (especially aesthetic) specificities of literary works.
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