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Performing Live : Aesthetic Alternatives for the Ends of Art Paperback – November 2, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0801486500 ISBN-10: 0801486505 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (November 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801486505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801486500
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,978,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Shusterman's new book is a collection of mutually complementary essays which encompass a decade of writing. It reppresents his pragmatist aesthetics critically applied to a range of issues, theories, and methods foregrounded by recent work in both analytic and continental philosophy. Interestingly, the contemporary vitality of some of these issues is in part due to the influence of Shusterman's previous writings. . . .Shusterman's text is enormously sophisticated not only in the range of philosophical and cultural sources which he is able to draw upon, but also in the probling and succinct way in which these are applied"— Mind

"The essays are lively and engaging in many ways. Not only is Shusterman informative about topics relating to mass-media arts and self-fashioning, his reflections consistently raise important philosophical issues concerning our postmodernist condition and the cultural and sociological factors fostering it. Furthermore, Shusterman's arguments are fecund and provocative, his styl evigorous, and his critique of current analytical and continental philosophical approches adroit. . . We cannot but admire the skill and verve of Shusterman's attempts to bring philosophy back to its original goals of teaching us how to live more fully and wisely."—Trevor Whittock, British Journal of Aesthetics, Jan. 2002

"Compelling, smart, original. Performing Live re-situates the body of philosophy as well as the human body in philosophy, aesthetics, country music, hip hop, and urban space. A must read for devotees of philosophy and popular culture critics alike."—Houston Baker, Duke University, Editor, American Literature

"Evocative and sophisticated, this book should appeal to an audience of diverse theoretical tastes, from contemporary postmodern and continental philosophy to analytic philosophy of art and aesthetics. Performing Live is a vigorous and highly readable collection of essays from an important voice."—Carolyn Korsmeyer, Professor of Philosophy, State University of New York at Buffalo

"Richard Shusterman's wide-ranging, lyrical overview of American philosophy and culture is both dynamic and inclusive. In giving us a new way to look at American philosophy from the early pragmatists to the hip-hop scene, Shusterman conveys the density of philosophical inquiry with the dextrous prose of a topological acrobat. Imagine a dinner conversation among T.S. Eliot, Ice-T, and John Dewey, an infinite host of well-informed hypertextual linkages surrounding the dialogue, and you might get a glimpse of 'the logic of multicultural difference' that Shusterman portrays in Peforming Live."—Paul D. Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, Editor-at-Large, Artbyte: The Magazine of Digital Culture

From the Inside Flap

"In the 1960s, artists became concerned with closing the gap between art and life. Philosophers responded by insisting that such a gap is essential if art is to have any meaning. In this masterful and informed philosophical critique, Richard Shusterman shows how his pragmatist aesthetics can dissolve the dilemma and realign the relationships among philosophy, art, and life"--Arthur C. Danto, Columbia University

"Richard Shusterman is one of the most interesting voices in contemporary aesthetics. In this impeccably lucid book he delivers a rigorous assessment of diverse theories of art and makes an eloquent case for the deep value of aesthetic surfaces."--Rita Felski, University of Virginia --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Richard Shusterman is the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities and Director of the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture at Florida Atlantic University. His major authored books include Thinking Through the Body; Body Consciousness; Surface and Depth; Performing Live; Practicing Philosophy; and Pragmatist Aesthetics (now published in fifteen languages). Shusterman received his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford and has held academic appointments in France, Germany, Israel, and Japan. The French government honored him as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques, and he was awarded research grants from the NEH, Fulbright Commission, ACLS, Humboldt Foundation, and UNESCO.

For more information about Richard Shusterman please go to

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Richard Shusterman is one of the most original, interesting, and relevant philosophers writing today. His recent book, PRACTICING PHILOSOPHY, was among the best published in the 1990s. Thus, PERFORMING LIVE comes as something of a disappointment. If you've read PRAGMATIST AESTHETICS in either its original or revised and updated form, you'll notice at least _three full chapters_ here that have been cut and pasted more or less verbatim. The points Shusterman makes in these chapters are eloquent and well-taken, but PERFORMING LIVE isn't that long a book, and one would have hoped Shusterman had something new to say. On a positive note, the new chapters _do_ rank with the best of Shusterman's previous work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a very exciting and well-written book. Shusterman develops his pragmatist perspective on the themes of aesthetic experience, urbanism, popular art and the new media. There are also illuminating analyses of multiculturalism, style, and body culture. The philosophically most original part of the book may be the two new studies that elaborate his ground-breaking theory of somaesthetics -- a body-mind discipline of theory and practice. But my favorite chapters were those on urban aesthetics, style, and genius that combine strong argument with evocatively lyrical, personal writing. Three of the book's 10 chapters are based on earlier work from his Pragmatist Aesthetics, but they help complement the brand new chapters to turn the book into a very sustained, compelling argument. It all flows together like a great CD.
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Format: Paperback
Most readers will run quickly to the sections on "somaesthetics" at the end of the book, for it is here that Shusterman is making claims that are both radical and fun. The main point of his chapter, "Somaesthetics and the Body/Media Issue," is that there is an interesting parallel between critique of the media (for example television) and the traditional philosophical critique of the body. He notes that at the same time the media seem to dematerialize the body, the body seems to matter more. One must concentrate on the slow savoring of deeper breathing, rather than be a couch potato captured by media-induced passivity. Media advocates often see the body as dull and inert. By contrast, Shusterman sees the body a "the primordial paradigm of the media" since it is the basic medium of human life. The chapter also elaborates the structure of the field of somaesthetics, mainly the invention of Shusterman himself. Somaesthetics is defined as "the critical, ameliorative study of one's experience and use of one's body as a locus of sensory-aesthetic appreciation and creative self-fashioning."

Shusterman is to be commended for bringing our attention to the relations between various body practices (yoga, modern dance, etc.) and the earliest Greek notions of philosophy: here, self-knowledge requires bodily knowledge. He rightly argues that we need to overcome the traditional Western denigration of the body. He uses various arguments to incorporate such body practices is "Alexander technique" into philosophy. However, the same arguments could also be used to meld psychoanalysis, prayer, and architecture with philosophy, since all of these are concerned with producing "the good life.
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