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Beautiful Democracy – Aesthetics and Anarchy in a Global Era - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Beautiful Democracy: Aesthetics and Anarchy in a Global Era

Russ Castronovo


The photographer and reformer Jacob Riis once wrote, “I have seen an armful of daisies keep the peace of a block better than a policeman and his club.” Riis was not alone in his belief that beauty could tame urban chaos, but are aesthetic experiences always a social good? Could aesthetics also inspire violent crime, working-class unrest, and racial murder? To answer these questions, this book turns to those who debated claims that art could democratize culture—civic reformers, anarchists, novelists, civil rights activists, and college professors—to reveal that beauty provides unexpected occasi ... More

Keywords: beauty, aesthetics, art, riots, terrorism, lynching, social transformation, violence, Jane Addams, Jacob Riis

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2007 Print ISBN-13: 9780226096285
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226096308.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Russ Castronovo, author