"On Beauty" CFP by Journal of International Political Anthropology
Call for Papers Date:
Call for Papers for the IPA Special Issue Book Series
The IPA invites contributions for our upcoming book on the theme of beauty.
The central concern is that of beauty and its role in culture, politics, and all realms of human social life. Beauty is to be considered as a central experience to human life. This, as the broad principle of the book, opens the field to allow for a variety of papers that focus on beauty across many different settings.(Anthropology, Philosophy, History, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Art & Aesthetics)
Submission deadline: 30th November, 2011
Paper length: 3,000 to 8,000 words
Editors: Agnes Horvath, James Cuffe
Please email queries/submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading ‘CFP Beauty’
Our call for papers for this book intends to reconsider the rightful place of beauty, arguably central not just for art and aesthetics, but for human and social life in general as a primary category of life. Beauty cannot be reduced to the realm of art, as it incorporates the entire range of human activities, through its affinities with gift relations, considered to be the foundation of social life by Marcel Mauss, or with the inner ethical predisposition that is necessary for us humans to have a harmonious relationship with each other and with our surroundings, that 'charming social' used by Gabriel Tarde. Beauty is in love with the social, gives solemnity and stateliness to it, the necessary good form for social bona fide.
Beauty can be seen as a characteristic of harmonious being, so it is particularly connected to the emergence and unfolding of culture and civilisation. Papers can situate beauty in the widest possible historical framework, following the footsteps of some of the most important historically oriented social theorists, like Max Weber, Eric Voegelin, Norbert Elias and Michel Foucault. However, it might be just as rewarding to study the social and anthropological significance of beauty, not through social theory, rather through perceptions developed in ancient Greek ideals on beauty with its tension, joy and contest. Using these frames in our search for beauty might give a new kind of in-depth understanding of contemporary European society.
From this perspective it is peculiar, to say the least, that such considerations have become not only absent, but almost an anathema in modern aesthetics, just as considerations of beauty are subordinated to utilitarian and financial reasons in social life, being considered as mere ‘irrational’. Although beauty is rational in the sense that it is reality par excellence, creates reality that is perceived and considered. It is even more striking that avant-garde aesthetics constitutes its own refusal of beauty as a subversive anti-establishment act, when in actual fact it only continues utilitarian modernism by other means.
The centre of the book will be the consideration that the beautiful is the founding basic experience of human existence, a fundamental feature of reality, a comprehensive characteristic associated with all aspects of human life. It present in the social and natural environment at large, in architecture, in city planning, in the household, in education; in play and contests it is closely connected to ritual or cultic activities, well demonstrated for by example with the prehistoric cave paintings. These considerations elaborate mostly themes also about the opposite of beauty that is not the unattractive or unpleasant but the fake or corrupted beauty, which mimics the authentic. Beauty can include the ugly – as Weber famously expressed it – but can also comprise of sterile ideas that add nothing to life. Modernism has a special significance concerning the Greek ideals of beauty as emptied of the endeavour for good management, care of the self, fine manners, strength and valour and instead provided an easy substitution in their pointless mimesis that is indifferent to all impulses of reality.
Agnes Horvath & James Cuffe
Special Edition Editors
Journal of International Political Anthropology
Department of Sociology
University College Cork
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