Dewey's aesthetics, expressed primarily in Experience and Nature and Art as Experience, reorients aesthetics from art objects to aesthetic experience. Aesthetic experience is marked by continuity, especially the continuity between means and ends. In what follows, I will briefly outline Dewey’s aesthetics with an eye toward the role of social class within his theory of aesthetic experience. Then I will delve briefly into Dewey’s views on film as an example of the complexities Dewey’s aesthetics provides for a theory of popular art. Just because Dewey is sensitive to the role class plays in the division between fine and useful art does not mean he embraces the emerging popular arts of his day. Finally, I will offer some contemporary examples of how Dewey’s aesthetics is used to engage elements of popular culture. Both John McDermott and Richard Shusterman recognize a Deweyan aesthetic provides valuable conceptual resources for critique and understanding of popular art. Taking popular art seriously is important, for it is one of the major social forces that has considerable educational influence; we must reckon with popular art if we are serious about human growth and flourishing.
Project Muse URL
Pope, Nakia S.
"Hit by the Street: John Dewey and Popular Culture,"
Education and Culture: Vol. 27
, Article 5.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/eandc/vol27/iss1/art5