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Contexts of Exchange and the Pricing of Art

by O'Neil, Kathleen Marie.

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation examines the pricing of visual art, the social process through which people arrive at a price for a work of art. The emerging literature on pricing suggests that a diversity of approaches to pricing exist even within the same firm or industry. Through interviews and field observation with artists and gallery owners in a local art market, I discover that this is also true of the pricing of visual art. In addition, individual artists often take more than one approach to pricing decisions, either at different stages of their career or coterminously. I examine the diversity of pricing decisions for visual art by investigating the exchange contexts within which art is sold. Exchange contexts are examined both in terms of the meanings associated with exchange and the structure and content of the social relationship between exchange partners. I demonstrate that exchange contexts provide frameworks within which pricing styles take on particular forms. More generally this project contributes to the sociological understanding of economic life by infusing cultural and relational sociology into the study of rational decision-making and markets. 11
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School:The University of Arizona

School Location:USA - Arizona

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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