Ugly, dirty and bad 1: Working Class Aesthetics Reconsidered

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


This article, taking at its starting point the work of Pier Paolo Pasolini, tackles the aesthetic of the working class as an objet d'art: how is the aesthetic sense of those who do not belong to the working class, but claim a political interest in its destiny, engaged by the outward appearance of the working class? And, more specifically, has there been a shift from a sense of aesthetic appreciation to what this author perceives as revulsion towards Western working classes? Has our aesthetic gaze wandered off, in search of more distant objects? It is not our goal to answer these questions by means of a quantitative or qualitative sociological analysis, and to this extent, the answers have to be taken as given. The article argues that there is a displacement of our gaze towards the working classes in the developing world, resulting in yet another form of consumption (the campaigns for fair trade would not be so successful without the picture-perfect - and picture-perfect because so completely desolate and objectively poor - sweatshops and small children in the fields). This displacement is not at all innocent. The article will propose that there are legal consequences - by using, and subverting, Luhmann's remark on legal taste; political consequences, where displacement means invisibility and lack of voice; and social consequences, mirroring Pasolini's horror at the cultural genocide, and now looking at the desolate spaces it has left behind.

ZeitschriftLaw & Literature
Seiten (von - bis)191-210
Anzahl der Seiten20
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 2014
Extern publiziertJa