En essä om estetisk efterrättelse.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis is about aesthetic observance. By these terms I intend to give an account of a social phenomenon considered an angle of approach on the understanding of norms. I narrow down the problems with the perspective from social psychology.

The central claim by George Herbert Mead was that mind arises from human interaction. The individual subject by this means appears as an effect. I whish to emphasize the fact that the ?Me? (in my terminology, not Mead's ? the ?Me? as well as the ?I? being aspects of the Self) ? the agent not the subject ? precedes as well as is an integral part of the social interaction. With this the ?Me? precedes the distinction between subject and object which, in turn, become relevant only when the interaction already is a fact. The biological organism ? the body (in interaction) thus precedes mind. The ?Me? as body and organism is emphasized in the dissertation to elucidate the difference between the ?Me? and the ?I?. The ?I? as representation and reflection is something quite different from the executed actions. The distinction made by Sören Kierkegaard between passion (the genuine devotion) and reflection (calculated and intentional) ? where passion required the deepest sympathy and r eflection required distance ? functions as a parallel. The ?I? is the unyielding crusader truthful to aesthetic observance, the absolute antithesis of the fervent sympathy, in some sense empty. This need for identifying oneself as something can be seen as a way to ? with the form as a point of departure ? reach out for community; but also as a way to keep life ? the content ? at a distance. While the aesthetician being blind for metaphors, he doesn?t recognize or acknowledge the representation as representation; that the ?I? is the represented Self and not the Self. Aesthetic observance starts from the gap ? between the ?I? and the ?Me? ? in the sense that the difference between the object and the representation of it (the desirable) is ignored. To justify a certain formation of a fact is thus not equivalent to verify an actual fact. Jean-Paul Sartre is mentioned as an example. As a child he seems to completely have equated himself with the generalized other. Sartre was exclu sively his ?I?, the mirror representation of the others? opinion of him. Whether it was the social surrounds, situations or things that demanded aesthetic observance from him remains unclear ? clear seems on the other hand the fact that it was hard for him not to oblige as his own worth was subordinate. The case of the operating system GNU/Linux is used as an analogy to this: the operating system GNU/Linux versus the sign GNU/Linux. The symbol milieu ? with it's language game and acting ? functions as a point of intersection between individual and society, this ever-changing ?focus? with the individual counterpart in the relation between the ?I? ? like a generalized other ? and the ?Me? ? the existing character.

A symbol milieu consists of common denominators wherein the same social reality prevails. Subjective opinions appear objective. To acquire or assimilate a symbol milieu ? an attitude ? is about the same thing as navigating by aid of an external ?compass?. The external compass tells us how we should be and behave, what we should look for and how we ought to judge what we see. Even the structural norm system gets its meaning by these means. Either others are in accordance, through things and gestures, with one's own symbol milieu or they are not. Man actually could be said to depend on the associations she gives rise to in the recipient.


  • Johanna Börrefors
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society


  • Sociology, Torgny T. Segerstedt, George Herbert Mead, GNU/Linux, Aesthetics, Norms, Sociology of Law, Social Psychology, Sociologi
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2007 May 4
Print ISBNs91-7267-235-8
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2007-05-04 Time: 14:15 Place: sal 206, Universitetshuset, Universitetsplatsen. External reviewer(s) Name: Petersen, Hanne Title: Prof. Affiliation: Juridisk fakultet, Köpenhamns universitet. ---

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