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Art As Collective Action

Howard S. Becker
American Sociological Review
Vol. 39, No. 6 (Dec., 1974), pp. 767-776
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2094151
Page Count: 10
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Art As Collective Action
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Abstract

Art works can be conceived as the product of the cooperative activity of many people. Some of these people are customarily defined as artists, others as support personnel. The artist's dependence on support personnel constrains the range of artistic possibilities available to him. Cooperation is mediated by the use of artistic conventions, whose existence both makes the production of work easier and innovation more difficult. Artistic innovations occur when artists discover alternate means of assembling the resources necessary. This conception of an art world made up of personnel cooperating via conventions has implications for the sociological analysis of social organization.

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