The Lure of the Social is now available!
Tuesday, July 06, 2021

The Lure of the Social is now available!

This new and original book is a creative practice ethnography, which navigates a spectrum where at one end the author works closely with socially engaged artists as part of her ethnographic research, and at the other she tries to find a critical distance to write about their art projects and the institutional structures that support their work, such as art schools and conferences.


Artists increasingly find themselves working in participatory settings where skills in social engagement are as essential as their creative skills. The author was involved in the field of social practices from its early stages and stayed engaged with the primary movers in the field for nearly two decades as a witness, participant and critical observer. Her writing evokes the people and places she discusses, and her writing style is personal and accessible.


The problems addressed by social practices, as well as their contradictions, very much reflect our troubled political global moment. This book is a significant contribution to the field – few people have followed the development of social practices for as long as Coombs, and her dual perspective as an art critic and anthropologist make her ideally placed to describe and evaluate the institutions and practices. While there are many books already in this growing field, the experimental and intensely personal nature of this book sets it apart. 


Will appeal to artists, writers and students interested in the history of how social practices developed as a field through its practitioners, discourse and lived experience.