Critical Distance

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Djaballah, Andy

De Certeau is often appealed to as a forerunner of the appreciation and validation of popular consumption practices, often against the institutionally sanctioned, hierarchically established forms of authority (e.g. popular reading). Bourdieu is another figure who is brought forward in support of fan participatory culture with, for instance, his accentuation of affective immediacy, immersion, and the desire to emotionally engage with works. Yet, there is a clash between these two theorists around Bourdieu’s vilification of the “bourgeois aesthetic” that Jenkins underscores in his 1992 Textual Poachers.
The first two talks of the morning seemed to imply similar suspicion about the distanced observer: Leveratto in his interest (and valuation) of cultural consumption beyond and outside of publically funded institutions and in the market place proper; and Collins in his appeal to taste, in the description of both ‘philias’, where appeals to standards or criteria upon which taste can be valued and shared were conspicuously absent.
What is the relationship of fan cultures (or consumer cultures) to traditional models of criticism? If we (loosely) consider art criticism as inviting its readers into shareable ways of understanding, and valuing works, why would there be any antagonism in a straightforward continuity with modern critical practice (which is the lifeblood of bourgeois aesthetics)?

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