The Changing Social Economy of Art

Are the Arts Becoming Less Exclusive?

  • Hans Abbing

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-v
  2. Hans Abbing
    Pages 1-8
  3. Hans Abbing
    Pages 9-59
  4. Hans Abbing
    Pages 61-115
  5. Hans Abbing
    Pages 117-156
  6. Hans Abbing
    Pages 157-216
  7. Hans Abbing
    Pages 217-243
  8. Hans Abbing
    Pages 245-252
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 253-257

About this book


Is art for everybody? Why do art lovers attach so much value to authenticity, autonomy and authorship? Why did the arts become so serious in the first place? Why do many artists reject commerce and cultural entrepreneurship? Crucially, are any of the answers to these questions currently changing? Hans Abbing is uniquely placed to answer such questions, and, drawing on his experiences as an economist and sociologist as well as a professional artist, in this volume he addresses them head on.

In order to investigate changes in the social economy of the arts, Abbing compares developments in the established arts with those in the popular arts and proceeds to outline key ways that the former can learn from the latter; by lowering the cost of production, fostering innovation, and becoming less exclusive. These assertions are contextualized with analysis of the separation between serious art and entertainment in the nineteenth century, lending credence to the idea that government-supported art worlds have promoted the exclusion of various social groups. Abbing outlines how this is presently changing and why, while the established arts have become less exclusive, they are not yet for everybody.


Art World Art ethos Usefulness Consumption Autonomy Cultural politics Authenticity Virtue Contemporary Entertainment Labour movement Economic value Profit Commercial culture Power Self-employed Critique

Authors and affiliations

  • Hans Abbing
    • 1
  1. 1.AmsterdamThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-21667-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-21668-9
  • Buy this book on publisher's site