I have to reconsider what it is. I think of it as a product of culture: the critheria for what is pleasing about a certain object in a certain culture.
As cultures are dependent on social and economic factors, aesthetics will depend on this as well - and politics will influence aesthetics - through culture. To me, that means that aesthetics at no point exists independently of culture, of economy, of social differences and of politics. These set the frames within which aestetics works to confirm or challenge the establishment.