Katya Mandoki advances in this book the thesis that it is not only possible but crucial to open up the field of aesthetics (traditionally confined to the study of art and beauty) toward the richness and complexity of everyday life. She argues that in every process of communication, whether face to face or through the media, fashion, and political propaganda, there is always an excess beyond the informative and functional value of a message. This excess is the aesthetic. Following Huizinga's view of play as an ingredient of any social environment, Mandoki explores how various cultural practices are in fact forms of playing since, for the author, aesthetics and play are Siamese twins.
One of the unique contributions of this book is the elaboration and application of a semiotic model for the simultaneous analysis of social interactions in the four registers, namely visual, auditory, verbal and body language, to detect the aesthetic strategies deployed in specific situations. She argues that since the presentation of the self is targeted towards participants' sensibilities, aesthetics plays a key role in these modes of exchange. Consequently, the author updates important debates in this field to clear the way for a socio-aesthetic inquiry through contexts such as the family, school, medical, artistic or religious traditions from which social identities emerge.
Contents: Preface; Part 1 The Labyrinths of Aesthetics: The problems of aesthetics; The fetishes of aesthetics; The myths of aesthetics; The fears of aesthetics. Part 2 On Aesthesis: Demarcating aesthetics; Basic categories for aesthetic analysis; Conditions of possibility of aesthesis: the a priori; The phenomenology of aesthesis: aesthetic latching-on and latched-by. Part 3 Towards Prosaics: Prosaics and poetics; The tangents of prosaics; The nutrients of prosaics; The play of culture; The horizons of prosaics. Part 4 Semio-Aesthetics: Thresholds of semiotic perception: sensation, discernment and regard; The axis of the signic; The axis of the symbolic; Comparative view of both axes: the symbolic and the signic; The non-axis of the obtuse; Beyond semiosis to aesthesis; Aesthetic enunciation and its dialogical character. Part 5 Octadic Model for Aesthetics Analysis: Rhetoric and its registers; Dramatics and its modalities; The rhetoric-dramatic coupling; Con-formations of the rhetoric-dramatic coupling. Part 6 Matrixes and Identities: The matrixes: a general approach; Diachronic and synchronic perspective of cultural matrixes; The family matrix; The religion matrix; The school matrix; The medical matrix; The occultist matrix; The arts matrix. Conclusions: matricial symbols and aesthetic games; References; Index.
About the Author: Katya Mandoki is Professor of Aesthetics, Semiotics and Design at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico.
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Chapter 1 - The problems of aesthetics
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