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Jukka Gronow

Related: sociology - taste - Scandinavia


From Jukka Gronow's page
Forms of social cohesion which are based neither on mutual economic and political interests nor on shared strong normative expectations are of special interest in sociology. They can be called sociations of taste. As I have tried to prove, for instance, in my book The Sociology of Taste, these forms are aesthetic. They were an important problem to Immanuel Kant in his 'third critique', The Critique of the Judgment Power, as well as in Friedrich Schiller's well-known program for aesthetic education. Modern consumption offers many good examples of these aesthetic forms of sociation. I have studied, among others, various forms of modern food consumption in the Nordic states. Fashion, as a totally irrational but socially extremely important phenomenon is an important meadiator between the individual and the society. It allows for individual expressions of his or her individuality and is, at the same time, socially binding. The importance of fashion as a 'modernity phenomenon' per se has only increased since the times Georg Simmel wrote his classical analyses of fashion.

I have applied these theoretical insights in my historical studies of the consumption in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. In my new book Caviar with Champagne I have analysed in detail, with the help of previously totally unknown archival sources, the formation of a specific Soviet culture of consumption with its ideals of good life and luxury under Stalin's times. These ideals did not only remain empty slogans. The Party and the Soviet government made many efforts, with greater or lesser success, to realize them in practice. Even though the economic reality under which most Soviet citizens lived often differed quite drastically from these ideals they had, nevertheless a great impact on the formation of the Soviet citizen, or the 'New Socialist Man'. Even in today's rapidly changing Russian society one can find many traces and remnants of this, once very potent, model of Soviet consumption. --Jukka Gronow via http://www.soc.uu.se/staff/jukka_g.html [Oct 2005]

The Sociology of Taste (1997) by Jukka Gronow

  • The Sociology of Taste (1997) by Jukka Gronow [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Statistically Improbable Phrases (SIPs): (learn more)
    pure social interaction, modern food culture, pecuniary beauty, democratic luxury, modern eater, mass fashion, pecuniary power, fashion mechanism, collective taste, legitimate taste, hedonistic consumer, new petite bourgeoisie, collective selection, agreeable arts, fashion pattern, universal communicability, formal sociology, demand for novelty, modern consumption, elite fashion, artificial needs, full individuality, aesthetic sociology

    Capitalized Phrases (CAPs): (learn more)
    Georg Simmel, Immanuel Kant, Soviet Union, Herbert Blumer, Rosalind Williams, Terry Eagleton, Colin Campbell, Vance Packard, Friedrich Schiller, Second World War, Claude Fischler, Western Europe, Zygmunt Bauman, Alan Warde, Daniel Bell, David Frisby, Vera Dunham, Max Weber, George Cheyne, Fleischman's Yeast

    Book Description
    The roles of fashion and taste are central to our understanding of the social dynamics of modern consumer cultures. In this study on the aestheticization of social life, Jukka Gronow uses the insights of Veblen, Simmel and Huizinga among others to show how fashion operates as a form of play binding modern society together and allowing an equilibrium between the opposing forces of the individual and society. In the process, he draws on a rich range of examples and case studies ranging from the dominance of kitsch in late nineteenth century Europe to the shifting nature of luxury in the Soviet Union from the 1930s through to the growing influence of western ideas of the good life from the 1960s on to food scares and food fashion in the late twentieth century.--via Amazon.com

    Download Description
    The Sociology of Taste looks at the role of taste, or the aesthetic relfection, in society at large and in modern society in particular. It illustrates the role of fashion in the formation of collective taste.--via Amazon.com [Oct 2005]

    Camille Mauclair, art industriel, kitsch, 18th century consumerism.

    The Birth of a Consumer Society: The Commercialization of Eighteenth-Century England (1982) - John H. Plumb, Neil McKendrick, John Brewer [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Dream Worlds: Mass Consumption in Late Nineteenth-Century France (1982) by Rosalind Williams [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    I am not quite sure that I read in Gronow's book, but the original meaning is of the Latin phrase de gustibus et coloribus ... does not mean that everyone's taste is personal and that you cannot question another's taste but quite the opposite. It means that taste is beyond dispute, that there is only one taste.

    Fashion is bienial change, high velocity, novelty, a quantative rather than a qualitative description.

    Georg Simmel on fashion.

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