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The Aesthetic Economy: The production of value in the field of fashion modelling

Entwistle, Joanne (2002) The Aesthetic Economy: The production of value in the field of fashion modelling. Journal of Consumer Culture, 2 (3). pp. 317-339. ISSN 1469-5405

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Entwistle, Joanne

This article delineates the operations of one particular ‘aesthetic economy’, focusing on the way in which aesthetics in the field of fashion modelling are central to the economic calculations of this market. Drawing on the work of Bourdieu and Blumer, the author argues that economic calculations are intertwined with cultural concerns, bound to forms of cultural knowledge, capital and acquired taste, and to social, cultural and institutional relations. A culturally valued look (the model’s body) is produced through processes of cultural valorization within the fashion modelling network, which, in time, aim to translate into economic value in the form of high fees. Fashion modelling provides an interesting case study which might shed light on how aesthetic values are generated in other fields of cultural production with a strong aesthetic component. In setting out this case study the author delineates an approach to the study of other aesthetic economies.

Official Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/146954050200200302
Additional Information (Publicly available):

The project involved in-depth interviews, conducted with male models and model agents in London and New York and was supported with observations at castings in both cities. Based on access to top model agencies, the paper addresses a gap in knowledge on fashion markets like modelling. The argument laid out develops the notion of the ‘aesthetic economy’, a concept which, while utilised by others (Negus, 2002; Aspers, 2005) was theoretically underdeveloped at this time. The paper defines the concept more precisely, setting terms under which aesthetic objects acquire value as commercially traded entities. The argument - that the value of aesthetic objects comes from the complex ways in which cultural value is accrued by virtue of circulation across at network of agents and translated into economic value – is developed through Blumer (1969) and Bourdieu (1993) and develops Asper’s (2001) study of photography in Sweden.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Bourdieu, cultural economy, cultural production, economic sociology, fashion industry, taste
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Sage Publications
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Other Affiliations > RAE 2008
Research Centres No Longer Active > Fashion, The Body And Material Cultures Research Centre (FBMC)
Date: 1 November 2002
Digital Object Identifier: doi: 10.1177/146954050200200302
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2009 15:19
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 09:44
Item ID: 1743
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1743

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