Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Stylisation refers to representation through a set of characteristic and recognisable schemata (as in Romanesque art, and modern fashion design).

explanatory context

Stylisation is often contrasted with naturalism.

analytical review

associated issues

A related concept is the notion of 'style'. Marjorie Munsterberg (2008–9) suggested:

The term "style" refers to the resemblance works of art have to one another. Enough visual elements must be shared by enough works to make their combination distinctive and recognizable to a number of people. A single cathedral cannot define the Gothic style any more than a single sculpture can define the style of its artist. Furthermore, the idea must convey meaning to enough people to become widely used.  Art history is filled with stylistic definitions that were proposed but never adopted, or did not survive for long.  This is not surprising.  Ideas and tastes change, different things seem important at different times, and there always are major works that do not fit into a particular definition of a style. These exceptions offer constant challenge to any accepted order.


Nataša Lah (2015) asked:

What is style? What are the recognizable characteristics of style in the history of visual arts? These questions instigated many theoretical debates which, until this day, failed to yield the unified and generally accepted definition of style. Such an unstable position of style in visuality can become intelligible if we consider the significance of historical turns that caused the irreversible demarcations between the theoretical status and the social role of style within art history, in a period after 1764. That was the year when Johann Joachim Winckelmann detached stylistics from rhetoric. Consequently, he expanded the sphere of style's jurisdiction into the history of art, anchoring style within a temporal dimension in order to enable the stylistic analysis of historical periods in art.

related areas

See also



Lah, N., 2015, 'How style became famous and irrelevant at the same time', Ars & Humanitas, 9, pp. 215–30. 

Munsterberg, M., 2008–9, 'Stylistic analysis', available at, accessed 14 September 2018, still available 14 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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