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Talking about beauty: a study of everyday aesthetics among low-income citizens of Milan.

Ruggerone, Lucia; Jenkings, Neil


Lucia Ruggerone

Neil Jenkings


This paper reports on research undertaken into the aesthetics of the everyday. As well as the subject matter of aesthetic philosophy, art criticism and of the sociology of art, beauty, and beautiful are of course very ordinary matters too. To shed light on the meanings of beauty as used in everyday settings and in natural language, we use the data collected in a study conducted with a group of low-income residents of the city of Milan. In this study we were interested in analyzing their lifestyle in terms of their relationship with aesthetics, i.e., with 'beautiful' objects and/or experiences. Participants' self-reported aesthetic appreciations suggest that conceptions of 'beauty' are used as devices to narrate pieces of identity, memories, experiences, etc. Their aesthetic judgements take on an anthropological function, creating a framework of meanings that help the participants make sense of the world of objects and of their own lives with/through them.


RUGGERONE, L. and JENKINGS, N. 2015. Talking about beauty: a study of everyday aesthetics among low-income citizens of Milan. Symbolic interaction [online], 38(3), pages 393-412. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 29, 2015
Online Publication Date Jun 30, 2015
Publication Date Aug 31, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 8, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 1, 2017
Journal Symbolic interaction
Print ISSN 0195-6086
Electronic ISSN 1533-8665
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 3
Pages 393-412
Keywords Beauty; Poverty; Aesthetics; Art; Objects; Lifeworld
Public URL


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