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date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter re-examines foundational philosophical controversies about the meaning of taste and reflects on how tastes have been understood by sociologists. It argues these insights, while revealing the social patterning of tastes, have also obscured the extent to which tastes are bound up both with sensory experience and with the process of learning the management of the body and its responses to the world. It concludes that, while the substantive weight of the sociological study of tastes has concerned itself with questions of the aesthetic and to the identification of different dispositions held by individuals and groups in relation to aesthetic judgment, there is value, in understanding contemporary cultures, to building up those accounts of taste that are more oriented to questions of the ascetic and to the role of restraint and training in the development and cultivation of tastes.

Keywords: taste, sensation, skill, aesthetics, restraint

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