The aesthetic economy: the production of value in the field of fashion modelling

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Abstract

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
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 317–339
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
Volume2
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2002

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