Introduzione. Estetica e povertà: una ricerca singolare

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Introduction. Aesthetics and poverty: a singular research

Carla Lunghi, Maria Antonietta Trasforini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


This book presents and discusses some results from a research study on aesthetics and poverty, recently carried out in Milan (Italy). Beauty, as a quality usually connected with art objects and tied to property and wealth, has been investigated in the ‘unusual’ context of economic poverty, where ownership of objects is precarious or indeed non-existent. Using ethnographic observation and instruments of visual culture (photos), the research investigated the meanings of some particular daily objects (i.e. pictures, clothes, religious images etc.) displayed during meetings with a sample of Italian and immigrant people, living in indigent conditions. The results suggest a critical review of Bourdieu’s theory on aesthetics (1979) and on taste as distinction practice, focusing instead on the ethical and relational dimensions of a grounded aesthetics. As anthropology and material culture studies suggest, the aesthetic object acts in people’s lives as a polysemic item, contiguous with usefulness, rituality, relation. At the crossroads of the aesthetics of existence (Foucault) and daily practices (De Certeau), certain objects considered beautiful become containers of affection, tools for public representation of the self, personal narrative and memories, displaying a practical and emotional control of a present difficult daily life.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Introduction. Aesthetics and poverty: a singular research
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationLa precarietà degli oggetti
EditorsCARLA LUNGHI, Maria Antonietta Trasforini
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Aesthetics
  • Material culture
  • Poverty
  • consumi
  • estetica
  • povertà


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