Aesthetic practices in the Transformation of Self and World

Main funder

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 457 200,00

Project timetable

Project start date01/01/2022

Project end date30/06/2025


The research project Aesthetic Practices in the Transformation of Self and World studies aesthetic matters through practices and agency. This perspective is novel, as aesthetics has traditionally focused either on objects (works of art, beautiful landscapes, etc.) or on the structure and characteristics of aesthetic appreciation and aesthetic experience. The project aims to contribute both to theory building in aesthetics and to knowledge about cultural practices in a globalising world.
To conceptualise aesthetics as practice provides a bridge between philosophy of art on the one hand and everyday and environmental aesthetics on the other, since aesthetic practices comprise professional art making and appreciation as well as amateur and everyday aesthetic preoccupations. What singles out practices is that they are done over time, rather than being singular occurrences, that they presuppose productive activity on the part of the subject (henceforth the “agent”), and that they are learnt and/or shared within a community. Aesthetic practices are characterised by a heightened sense of being in the situation, reciprocity between agent and object/environment (a dual structure of acting and responding), and the overall aim of performing well. The practice perspective highlights aesthetic pleasure and meaning as integrated in the practice as practiced, rather than arising from objects unrelated to the agent’s practice.
In the project, our points of departure are 1) that aesthetic practices bring about – consciously but also more tacitly – transformations of self and world (social and physical) and 2) that in addition to the actual practice they involve sharing with or to a larger group. We study how transformations and sharing take place, how aesthetic practices contribute to or become part of everyday life, and how these practices influence the agent’s identity, situation, sense of belonging etc.
The project focuses on three kinds of aesthetic practices: interior decoration and grooming, playing computer games, and drawing. In the analysis, we apply both micro- (first-person) and macro-(contextual) perspectives. We use philosophical and conceptual analysis, phenomenologically informed first-person analysis, descriptive aesthetics, visual analysis and content analysis. The combination of philosophical and empirical research is novel as it is still scarce in aesthetics. Research data comprise individual and group interviews and conversations, notes, images and published materials. In the analysis, we use concepts such as rhythm, style, and weaving, highlighting the temporal and sedimented unfolding of practices and their variations.

Principal Investigator

Other persons related to this project (JYU)

Contact person (yes/no)Yes

Primary responsible unit

Follow-up groups

Related publications and other outputs

Last updated on 2024-13-02 at 10:09