Arts and Culture Symposium

Journal of Economics and Finance

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 386-394

First online:

The economics of a good party: Social mechanics and the legitimization of art/culture

  • Elizabeth CurridAffiliated withSchool of Policy, Planning, and Development, University of Southern California Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Putting value on cultural goods is a messy business. Cultural value is not just an economic act but instead part of an intense social process of valorization and legitimization. Art/culture is socially consumed and socially aware. Economic value is determined by intangible (and ephemeral) social value formed from and within specific contexts by particular people, the “scene”, so to speak. What are the mechanisms by which the social dynamics of art/culture impact its economic legitimacy? This article looks at how art/culture attains market value, focusing on the social contexts by which culture is produced, evaluated and distributed.