Paul DiMaggio

Paul DiMaggio is professor of sociology at Princeton University and research director of its Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies.

Recent Articles

How America Does Art

Visual Shock: A History of Controversies in American Culture by Michael Kammen (Alfred A. Knopf, 450 pages, $35.00) Good and Plenty: The Creative Successes of American Arts Funding by Tyler Cowen (Princeton University Press, 196 pages, $27.95) Like almost everything else about democracy, there is little agreement about what it means for the arts. Is democracy a matter of providing access to the best or about recognizing the value of diverse cultural traditions? Does it mean giving the public a say about public monuments and outdoor sculpture or letting the market decide (one dollar, one vote) which arts will prosper? As these new books by Michael Kammen and Tyler Cowen show, democracy can mean all of those things. Americans disagree not only about the arts, but also about what role they ought to play in our public life and what role our public life ought to play in them. Of the two books, Kammen's is the better read. Visual Shock leads us through debates about public monuments in the...