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While addressing the fundamental question, “What is social aesthetics?” the introduction aims to situate the concept of social aesthetics within a number of distinct histories of art, musical, and cultural practices and theoretical paradigms. The editors demonstrate how the social and the aesthetic have come to be conceived and related (at times almost as opposed concepts; at other times as complementary notions) in a number of distinct intellectual and artistic traditions, themselves emerging out of particular histories concerning the theorization of both the social and the aesthetic. The introduction then gives a nuanced summary of the chapters in the volume, relating them to one another and showing in what ways they differ. It ends with a call for further inter- and transdisciplinary research to meet the challenges posed by the recognition, in the scholarship represented in this book, of the complex interpenetration and entanglement of aesthetic and social processes.

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