Introducing aesthetics into status analysis. The case of French contemporary poetry
The American Behavioral Scientist
US : SAGE Publications
status, aesthetics, poetry
The consecration of artists is a fundamental issue in the study of artistic fields. Status theory proposes that consecration (or “status”) is constructed through associations between actors, leading the actors to choose partners whose status is comparable to theirs. This theory, widely used in the study of artistic consecration, tends to undersocialize actors as it only considers their relative position in the status order. In particular, it hypothesizes that when two actors associate, they do so on the basis of their relative position in their respective areas of reference. Yet status theory can be accused of ignoring the aesthetic dimension of the works produced. In other words, it overlooks what makes art worlds distinct from other fields of production. The aim of this article is to complete this hypothesis by showing how aesthetic affinities can contribute to pairing choices (between a publisher and a poet, in particular), and how these aesthetic affinities can play a determining role in unequal artistic consecration.