- Christopher Norris
A doctrine with sources in 19th-century aesthetics but now chiefly associated with Marxism or communism. It has had, to say the least, a somewhat chequered ideological career. Its applications have ranged from the largely descriptive to the downright prescriptive and dogmatic, their common factors being a realist (mimetic) theory of representation and a belief that art can promote human emancipation by offering a truthful yet affirmative vision. Argument about these terms has been widespread since the 1930s, but was especially urgent in the Soviet Union and its satellite countries, where socialist realism was for long periods official policy....