Art World Hegemony and Access
: Competing Perspectives on the Value of The Creative Class

  • Erika Wong

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The Art World exhibits properties of organisational exclusivity that is not captured by extant studies. In utilising Bourdieu’s theoretical position and methodological toolbox of field, habitus and capital this study engages in the competing perspectives on the value of the Creative Class within the current Art World structure. In addition to the application of Bourdieusian field theory, a new, non-hierarchical ideal-type typology was created in this work. This was done with the intention of separating the Creative Class from the consumers of their works and to examine the needs of and opportunities for creative producers. In doing so, this classification underpinned the extent of competing perspectives on the value of their habitus and capital. In addition to an overview of the structure of the Art World, empirical data was collected regarding the perceptions of the Creative Class regarding their career trajectories within the Art World. A sample of Fine Arts Graduates holding either a Bachelors and/or Masters of Fine Arts were used for the empirical aspects of this study. Moreover, evidence of significant barriers is drawn from the analysis of these data. The analysis also demonstrates the complicity of actors in blocking Art World access; however, the data highlight that these barriers are both structural and self-inflicted. Additionally, these barriers to the Art World were posited in this work to have a direct impact on the economic opportunities for the Creative Class, and this study explores new strategies to redirect the economic participation of the Creative Class into other areas of opportunity. The corollary of this is opening up ways to support the Creative Class such as the use of digital technologies. Through deconstructing the Art World, the thesis explains why and how the Art World is limiting. This led to the outcome of the research: locating where the breakdown is within the structure of the Art World and who is contributing to it. Through examining why, how and where the barriers are, the study offers a way to reconcile the current limitations to access to the Art World.
    Date of AwardAug 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Brighton
    SupervisorAndrew Grantham (Supervisor), Martin Bouette (Supervisor) & Jaime Kaminski (Supervisor)


    • Bourdieu
    • Art World
    • Creative Class

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