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05/09/2012 - 08/09/2012

The Research Network Sociology of the Arts hereby announces its 7th conference which will take place in Vienna from September 5th to the 8th, 2012. The organisation of the conference will be undertaken by the Institute for Music Sociology at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.

The focus of the key conference lectures will be on artistic practices. The concept of practice differs from the classical concept of action. Concrete practices are located in communities of practice and therefore should be analysed on the basis of their embedding in social structures and cultural dynamics. This theoretical conception also transforms our understanding of other concepts such as knowledge, intention, meaning, institution, rule, structure, and power.

Artistic practices, as arrays of specific activities (including, in a narrow sense, the area of conception and production and in a broader sense the promotion, distribution, displaying and conveying of arts understanding) assume theoretical knowledge as well as know-how. They assume connoisseurship but also practical abilities and skills. Artistic practices are developed practically and collectively in collaborative networks. They are pre-structured by conventions, institutions, regimes of competence, forms or alignments of power as well as technological and financial means, although practices themselves instigate the formation of these various structural parame ters. Another seminal characteristic of practices is their partly tacit dimension, which is due to the inherent limits of language, of practical consciousness as well as to the habituation that takes place after familiarisation and implicit learning.

The invited four key speakers are: Karlheinz Essl (composer), Nathalie Heinich (sociologist), Theodore Schatzki (philosopher), Laurent Thévenot (sociologist).

The Call for Papers of this conference is also open for presentations to all core areas of arts sociology. Experienced and young scholars from various disciplines sensitive to social in quiries into the arts are invited to participate in the conference. Presentations can be related to following areas:

1. Sociology focussed on particular domains in arts including architecture, urban planning, applied arts, arts within the domain of popular culture (e.g. film, television, and popular music) as well as traditional ‘high’ arts (e.g. music, visual arts, literature, theatre, etc.).

2. The process of production, distribution, promotion and commercialisation of works of art including the impact of technology, new means of production, forms of collaboration, the formation of art theory, the development of arts markets, process of valuation etc.

3. The process of presentation and mediation of arts including art criticism and publicity in all domains of the arts, museums, theatres, concerts, audience studies, attitudes towards the audience, educational programs, etc.

4. Professional development including amateurs and semi-amateurs, vocational education, art schools, professional differentiation, artistic income, artistic reputation, relation to arts management, etc.

5. Arts organisations (not only houses such as museums, theatres but also festivals and artists’ unions) – investigation of historical development, power relations, effects, program selection, processes within the organisations such as gate-keeping, leadership, etc.

6. Arts policy (especially the sociological aspects thereof) including legal issues, public and private funding, public discourse and debates (e.g. classification of art, arts and religious symbols, arts and sexuality, arts and racism), censorship, analysis of the impact of arts, sustainability, lobbying associations, cultural ministries or other government bodies.

7. Social and cognitive effects of the arts including: arts and identity formation, arts and bodies, aesthetic experience, arts and ethics, coding and decoding, gender related practices, ethnographic aspects, art for social transformation, arts in communities and arts as a part of urban culture.

8. Arts from a macrosociological perspective including: (de-)institutionalisation, economisation, globalisation vs. localism, digitalisation, mediamorphosis, arts and social cohesion, arts and ethics, arts and hegemony and arts and power.

9. Theoretical development in arts sociology such as the production of culture approach, (post-) structuralism, field theory, system theory, praxeology as well as methodological issues.

Please note that there will be a conference fee to cover all catering services (lunch, drinks, etc.)


The abstracts must be written in English, be approximately 400 words, and include 3-5 keywords. Please submit your abstract and full contact details as an electronic file not later than the 31st of January 2012. Send the abstract to Tasos Zembylas ( with cc. to Claudia Borovnjak (

The deadline for notification of acceptance of abstracts is 31st of March 2012.

Further information and guidelines will be on the conference website:

Research Network Sociology of the Arts
5–8 September 2012
Vienna, Austria
Contact : Tasos Zembylas
Email :
Tel. +43-1-71155-3617.


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