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Objects, Emotion and Biography or How to Love Opera and Football Jerseys Again

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Sociology of the Arts in Action

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Abstract

The scholarship on aesthetics and materiality has studied how objects help shape identity, social action and subjectivity. Whereas the literature has been generous and detailed in exploring the processes of assembling and sustaining object-centred attachments, it has not sufficiently engaged with what happens when the aesthetic elements of cultural artefacts that have produced emotional resonance are transformed. And relatedly, what happens to the key aesthetic qualities that were so central to how the objects had been defined, and to those who have emotionally attached to them? To answer these questions, this chapter uses as exemplars two different cases of attachment, predicated on the distinctive features of a cultural object—the transcendence of opera and the authenticity of a soccer jersey—that have undergone transformations.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    I take this term from the work of Laclau and Moufee (1985) and Laclau (2005). I’d like to highlight from that literature the semiotic work behind forming an equivalential chain, in which the agreement over the meaning of a practice is produce through multivocality, and in which previously differentiated practices or objects are presented and perceived though a logic of equivalence.

  2. 2.

    I’m following here the well-known pragmatist conceptualization of giving an account as a particular kind of action (Austin, 1975).

  3. 3.

    This is key because for the fusion of object, meaning and emotion to continue in time, they must be (a) successful and (b) isolated from competing interpretations and activities.

  4. 4.

    I take the term partial object (or object a) from Lacan (2007). I do this to emphasize how much what I theorize about the relationship between self and object resembles what Lacan conceptualized as object a largely overlap.

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Benzecry, C.E. (2022). Objects, Emotion and Biography or How to Love Opera and Football Jerseys Again. In: Rodríguez Morató, A., Santana-Acuña, A. (eds) Sociology of the Arts in Action. Sociology of the Arts . Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-11305-5_11

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-11305-5_11

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