This philosophical study is in part a critical examination of Richard Sennett's sociological account of what it means to be out in public in the company of strangers and expressing oneself aesthetically in a playful, self-distanced encounter with them. His urging for a rediscovery of the classic mid-eighteenth century connection between actors on the stage and persons on the street in order to make social life aesthetic once again is seen as having significant implications for art educators concerned with putting into practice the aesthetic and social function of art and art education. The arguments developed in the paper take issue less with Sennett's calling for a rebirth of the aesthetic in social life and more with his one-sided view of aesthetics, art, and theatre and his notion of what it is that actors do as well as what society is and what public, self-distanced encounters should be. A view of art and art education which goes beyond the traditional narrow and limiting mainstream Western concept of art as a "thing" framed and set apart from the ordinary everyday immediate and sensuous encounters of persons in public is presented.
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