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Call for Papers: Ordinary Aesthetics

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for a topical issue of Open Philosophy


   Open Philosophy (www.degruyter.com/view/j/opphil) invites submissions for the topical issue “Ordinary Aesthetics,” edited by Sandra Laugier (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne) and Andrew Brandel (Harvard University), prepared in collaboration with the European Research Council project DEMOSERIES (https://www.demoseries.eu).

   Over the past few years, a rich debate has emerged in the study of ethics over the importance of the ordinary. Many continue to think of ethics as principally concerned with producing a list of rules to follow and infringe upon, and as a domain constituted by judgements that take a step back from the whirl of activity in everyday life. But in contrast with this conventional view, proponents of ordinary ethics, often in conjunction with the ethics of care, have argued that ethics neither can be grasped by reference to an enumerable set of preexistent rules, nor by attending to a metaphysically autonomous realm of moral action. Rather, they see ethics as embedded in human situations, affects and practices – that is, in a whole human form of life continually being remade. Most significantly, this perspective has given due representation to an ethics of care rooted in the ordinary.

   As these debates on “the ethically ordinary” continue to develop, a further, related need has emerged for thinking about the possibility of ordinary aesthetics, which while intimately linked with ordinary ethics (Wittgenstein 1971, Diamond 1991, Das 2020), would merit its own investigation. By ordinary aesthetics, the editors want to highlight the ways aesthetic concerns are intrinsic to human forms of life and not merely within a bounded domain of rarefied social action, occupied with the production of general rules governing form or content or criteria for “great” or “modern” or “innovative” art. Instead, they expect the contributions to reflect on how everyday life itself is a site of aesthetic interest and criticism. While connected to the aesthetics of the everyday (see e.g. Formis 2010, Saito 2017, Leddy 2012, Naukkarinen 2017, Shusterman 2019) – ordinary aesthetics, understood as the ordinary’s own conditions of perspicacity (Cavell 2004) emphasizes uses of what Wittgenstein once called “aesthetic words” and gestures of expressivity, the context-bound interests that lead us to use particular concepts.

   This topical issue aims to contribute to a better understanding of this knowledge of this emerging field of research, and to bring philosophy into conversation with anthropology, social and political science, art criticism and practice, to think together about these possibilities. For example, how do popular music, film, television, literature, or dance, as the “stuff of ordinary conversation,” become important sites for thinking and the moral and political “education of grownups” (Cavell 1979, 1981, Laugier 2019, Gerrits 2020, Le Lay and Bertho 2022)? What would thinking of aesthetics as inhering in the everyday do to our picture of criticism and thought? Might such a view help us to dislodge a still pervasive sense that aesthetic grammars are repositories of authorized forms? In other words, how does the revolution of the ordinary (Cavell 1969, Moi 2017) transform aesthetics? And how might this help us rethinking the relationship between aesthetics and ethics? We invite contributions that explore how aesthetic practices are arranged and transformed when they seek to distance themselves from the world of art in order to immerse themselves in, and transform, human forms of life.

Authors publishing their articles in the special issue will benefit from:

·        Transparent, comprehensive and fast peer review,

·        Efficient route to fast-track publication and full advantage of De Gruyter’s e-technology,

·        No publishing fees.


Submissions will be collected untill February 28, 2023. There are no specific length limitations.

To submit an article for the special issue of Open Philosophy, authors are asked to access the online submission system at: http://www.editorialmanager.com/opphil/

Please choose as article type: Ordinary Aesthetics.

Before submission the authors should carefully read over the Instruction for Authors, available at: https://www.degruyter.com/publication/journal_key/OPPHIL/downloadAsset/OPPHIL_Instruction%20for%20Authors.pdf

All contributions will undergo critical review before being accepted for publication.

Further questions about this thematic issue can be addressed to Sandra Laugier <sandra.laugier@univ-paris1.fr> and to ERC Demoseries <contact@demoseries.eu>.

In case of technical questions, please contact journal Managing Editor Katarzyna Tempczyk <katarzyna.tempczyk@degruyter.com>.