L'Esthétisation du Monde

The thesis of this essay is astonishing and provocative: our era is that of the fulfillment of an aesthetization of the world; it is even possible to define the global system in which we live an "artistic capitalism", as if in the end the ancient ideal was realized: "We must admit it, capitalism has created an aesthetic man," that is "a hyper-consumer who has an aesthetic and non-utilitarian view of the world. " The avant-gardes, the experimentation, the artistic activities, unlike the past, are now integrated into the production system and the production system itself multiplies the styles. This is not so because the Beautiful is offered to the "public" as a simple advertising tinsel, like an ornament designed only to disguise the intrinsic poorness of the product. Beyond that, the Beautiful has become a real productive factor where to invest funds: "No sphere is spared by aesthetic investment".
We arrived at this stage of aesthetization through an historic itinerary, reconstructed by the authors in four stages from antiquity to the nineteenth century, to this day. Each of them is devoted to an analysis that identifies for each age the typical relationship between the society and the Beautiful, the aesthetic purposes and the aesthetic production.
But Gilles Lipovetsky and Jean Serroy, recognizing the contributions of capitalism to the world's aesthetization, do not exalt it. Their essay combines economics, sociology and anthropology within the horizon of a sharp social criticism. And it demonstrates how this artistic capitalism can be a machine that destroys the human substance of society, how much "good life is threatened" by it.

Gilles Lipovetsky, Jean Serroy
Published in: 
Translated in Italian by:
with title: L'estetizzazione del mondo