Date of this Version
Hill, Michael R. 1985. Review of Aesthetics and the Sociology of Art, by Janet Wolff. Mid- American Review of Sociology 10 (Spring): 91-92.
In this compactly written and generally accessible monograph, Janet Wolff outlines the contours of reductionism and ideology as central issues in the sociology of art. She provides a thorough critique of contemporary sociological practice, surgically identifying sloppy logic and intellectual imperialism in nearly every recent attempt to solve the "problem" of aesthetics sociologically. Upon completing the book, the reader will no doubt feel greatly informed about a wide range of epistemological, methodological, and ideological issues. At the same time, the reader may feel perplexed in his/her attempt to frame an answer to the question, "What's the next step?" Hence, the monograph would probably give admirable service as a short "kick off" to an undergraduate honors course or a graduate seminar in the sociology of art and aesthetics.