Bending Forward, One Step Backward: On the Sociology of Tasting Techniques

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The 'new' sociology of culture has provided us with valuable insights regarding the performative, corporeal, and unpredictable dimensions of art tasting, which the 'old', critical sociology of art failed to recognize. But how can we profit from these insights without committing the sin of the denial of the social (and social structures in particular)? This article suggests that these insights may be incorporated into the critical sociology of art once we are ready to substitute reified tasting techniques for reified tastes as our main objects of study. Relying on works in anthropology, philosophy, history and neuroscience, I urge us to put tasting techniques at the heart of our research agenda in cultural sociology. This will enable us to simultaneously give full account of the subjective, unique art-tasting experiences which are informed by specific tasting techniques, as well as of the role the same techniques play in social reproduction and social closure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-430
Number of pages16
JournalCultural Sociology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Bourdieu
  • Hennion
  • new sociology of art
  • new sociology of culture
  • sociology of art
  • taste
  • tastes
  • tasting techniques


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