[image-1]The Social Impact of the Arts, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008

From the publisher: The Social Impact of the Arts: An Intellectual History starts with today’s heated public debate about the ‘intrinsic’ and the ‘instrumental’ in the arts, and then locates this debate within a history of ideas that goes back over two thousand years to classical Greece – Plato’s Republic and Aristotle on catharsis. In tracing this history and revealing that there is nothing new under the sun in arguments about the arts, the authors show how the meanings of some key concepts – among them, “the transforming power of the arts,” “art for art’s sake,” “the arts are good for you,” “the arts and cultural identities” – have evolved over time, as parts of a very long-standing argument. The aims of this book are ambitious: to nourish public debate, to reconnect us all with a rich tradition of thinking, to show how certain ideas turned into commonplace beliefs, and in the end to encourage “a more nuanced understanding of how the arts can affect people.