Bachelor TR-NQF-HE: Level 6 QF-EHEA: First Cycle EQF-LLL: Level 6

Course Introduction and Application Information

Course Code Course Name Semester Theoretical Practical Credit ECTS
SOC2053 Sociology of Art and Culture Fall 3 0 3 5
This catalog is for information purposes. Course status is determined by the relevant department at the beginning of semester.

Basic information

Language of instruction: English
Type of course: Non-Departmental Elective
Course Level: Bachelor’s Degree (First Cycle)
Mode of Delivery: Hybrid
Course Coordinator : Prof. Dr. AYŞE NİLÜFER NARLI
Recommended Optional Program Components: Regular visits to art galleries and museums of Istanbul as an extra credit opportunity
Course Objectives:
The students will familiarize themselves with major approaches and theorists in the sociology of arts, acquire basic concepts in aesthetics and interpretive analysis, will examine their own understanding and attitudes to various forms of art, and develop further critical skills to orient themselves in the cultural processes of society. This course combines the sociology of art and culture inaugurated by the classics of Sociology, the Frankfurt School and refined by Pierre Bourdieu. It is a set on a disciplinary border that identify and analyze the social and economic background to the creation of works of art, including visual art, theatre, cinema, and literature. Students will acquire a broad, general knowledge of current debates within both sociology and anthropology at the same time as developing specialist knowledge of the key social, economic and cultural dynamics shaping a range of artistic creativity, digital culture and art pursuits and practices. We will discuss a wide range of social processes and dynamics as they relate to the production, distribution and consumption of ‘mass’, ‘popular’ and ‘high-brow’ cultural forms and artefacts and to think critically about the modes by which they are evaluated and understood. There will be due time to discuss street art and its history, location and creators in the various countries. Different topics are interwoven within the Course. Firstly, we will discuss major theoretical approaches in the sociology of art. Secondly, we will discuss the complex cultural processes linking the visual arts and society in Western modernity as well as in Turkey. In such an endeavor, we will adopt the assumption that artistic expressions are the result of those ongoing processes of ‘social construction’ that take place between artists, their audiences (art critics, curators, the media etc.), their economic and cultural environments as well as their historical and social contexts, different cultural contexts and the extent to which they themselves ‘shape’ artistic phenomena. Moreover, the course introduces students to the ways art and popular culture have been used and misused in nationalist, socialist and social movement discourses and practices in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. We will also learn semiotic analysis to explore the complex codes involved in artistic products.

Learning Outcomes

The students who have succeeded in this course;
At the end of the course, you will be able to:

(1) Understand sociological discourses about specific Western phenomena of artistic creativity and their uses and reception
(2) Understand various social and human development related functions of art
(3) Examine the relationship between art and culture
(4) Differentiate the social and political context and the participants in the creation and art production process
(5) Develop skills in critical sociological analysis of art objects in terms of indicators of class, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other
(6) Understand street art and new trends in street art
(7) Examine the impact of globalization on the art process
(8) Develop interpretive skills
(9) Develop critical and presentation / speaking skills through in-class assignments and field trips
(10) Develop a wide range of key transferrable skills that are highly valued by employers within a range of professions

Course Content

The course will explore the contemporary sociological studies of the arts with the focus on the following questions: “How is art identified in society?”, “What is the place of art in society?”, “What is the relationship between art and culture?”, “How is art produced, distributed, and consumed?”, “How are artistic tastes differentiated by economic class, status, and education?”, “Can art bring about a better society?” and other.

Weekly Detailed Course Contents

Week Subject Related Preparation
1) Ders Programı İncelemesi • Beklentiler Read the syllabus
2) Approaches to art and society Presentation Topic 1 Major theories in the sociology of arts: Paul, J. (2005). Art as Weltanschauung: An Overview of Theory in the Sociology of Art. Electronic Journal of Sociology, 1. Art Words and Art Worlds: Becker's art world framework HEYWOOD's book ch 1,2,3 ( Art's World and the Social World ; Towards a Critical Sociology of Art?; The Critical Theory of Art: Modernism and Violence ) Heywood, I. (1997). Social theories of art: a critique. Macmillan International Higher Education
3) De La Fuente, E. (2007). The New Sociology of Art': Putting Art Back into Social Science Approaches to the Arts. Cultural Sociology, 1(3), 409-425.
4) Kültürün Kurumsal Üretimi, Bourdieu Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. "The Field of Cultural Deadline: Assignment 1 (impression report) Production." Pp. 29-73 in The Field of Cultural Production. N.Y.: Columbia Univ. Press. Pierre Bourdieu Distinction a Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste - introduction of the cultural dimension into sociological study of stratification and classes. • Theory of practice (habitus) x (capital) field practices. • Economic capital, social capital, cultural
11) Studying art Alexander, V. (2003). Sociology of the arts: Exploring fine and popular forms. Oxford: Blackwell. Ch. 13 (pp. 251-277)
12) Art in society Alexander, V. (2003). Sociology of the arts: Exploring fine and popular forms. Oxford: Blackwell. Ch. 14, 15 (pp. 278-311)
13) Project - Field trip to an art event
14) Presentations Prepare oral presentation on sociological analysis of personal art preferences, according to guidelines


Course Notes / Textbooks: Heywood, I. (1997). Social theories of art: a critique. Macmillan International Higher Education. (find it in classromm materials)

Gombrich, E. H., & Gombrich, E. H. (1995). The story of art (Vol. 12). London: Phaidon.

Course notes are provided on Its-learning library

References: Other required readings will be uploaded to students via Itslearning. If you cannot access any material, please contact the instructor of the course.
Additional articles will be assigned in the course of the semester

Additional readings will be announced.

Evaluation System

Semester Requirements Number of Activities Level of Contribution
Attendance 14 % 10
Homework Assignments 2 % 20
Presentation 2 % 10
Midterms 1 % 20
Final 1 % 40
Total % 100
Total % 100

ECTS / Workload Table

Activities Number of Activities Duration (Hours) Workload
Course Hours 14 3 42
Study Hours Out of Class 14 4 56
Presentations / Seminar 1 10 10
Project 1 15 15
Midterms 1 2 2
Final 1 3 3
Total Workload 128

Contribution of Learning Outcomes to Programme Outcomes

No Effect 1 Lowest 2 Low 3 Average 4 High 5 Highest
Program Outcomes Level of Contribution
1) To be able to critically interpret and discuss the theories, the concepts, the traditions, and the developments in the history of thought which are fundamental for the field of new media, journalism and communication.
2) To be able to attain written, oral and visual knowledge about technical equipment and software used in the process of news and the content production in new media, and to be able to acquire effective abilities to use them on a professional level.
3) To be able to get information about the institutional agents and generally about the sector operating in the field of new media, journalism and communication, and to be able to critically evaluate them.
4) To be able to comprehend the reactions of the readers, the listeners, the audiences and the users to the changing roles of media environments, and to be able to provide and circulate an original contents for them and to predict future trends.
5) To be able to apprehend the basic theories, the concepts and the thoughts related to neighbouring fields of new media and journalism in a critical manner.
6) To be able to grasp global and technological changes in the field of communication, and the relations due to with their effects on the local agents.
7) To be able to develop skills on gathering necessary data by using scientific methods, analyzing and circulating them in order to produce content.
8) To be able to develop acquired knowledge, skills and competence upon social aims by being legally and ethically responsible for a lifetime, and to be able to use them in order to provide social benefit.
9) To be able to operate collaborative projects with national/international colleagues in the field of new media, journalism and communication.
10) To be able to improve skills on creating works in various formats and which are qualified to be published on the prestigious national and international channels.