Markets in Fashion: A Phenomenological Approach

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Interest in contemporary cultural industries has grown in the past decade, as they take on a greater significance in our increasingly consumer-led society. Focusing on the world of fashion photography, this book presents an interdisciplinary approach in which this and other aesthetic markets, such as advertising, modelling, art, music and more, can be viewed.

The main thrust of this groundbreaking book, is in developing a theory for these cultural markets, characterized by insecurity, and where status and aesthetic diversity generate order and price differentiation. In these industries, services and products are offered that are a mix of the aesthetic and the economic, and for fashion photographers such as those studied here, it is necessary to carefully position themselves in the market by developing unique photographic styles and separating themselves from competitors.

Yet the markets in which these industries operate differ from the type of exchange markets depicted by neoclassical economists, and therefore cannot be considered using such modes of analysis. Instead Aspers conducts his study using empirical phenomenology, an original approach presented here for the first time, which can be easily used in other empirical studies. He draws on original empirical material; participant observation and interviews generated in New York and Stockholm; which bring a depth of analysis and a relevance to this book which academics, researchers and those with a vested interest in such industries will value.

Written by one of the world's brightest young economic sociologists, this fascinating book (previously published in Sweden and enthusiastically received) is endorsed by recognized industry authorities. A noteworthy book, it provides a foothold in the burgeoning sub discipline of economic sociology, and a significant analysis of the economics of the fashion photography industry.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword   Karin Knorr Cetina     ix
Preface to the second edition     xiv
Preface to the first edition     xv
Introduction     1
Research questions     2
Photography and fashion     2
Art, money and craft in photography     4
The production of pictures     6
A note on the organization of this book     10
The study of markets     11
Types of markets     11
Economic theories of markets     14
Sociological theories of markets     18
Summary     27
An overview of the fashion photography business     29
The markets     30
The actors who produce fashion photographs     33
The magazine     54
The role of the advertising agency     55
Summary     58
Fashion photographers as producers     60
The meaning structure of the producers     61
The customers     67
To work for a magazine     67
Working for an advertising agency     79
Two meaning structures - two markets?     84
The low-fashion photographer     85
The two types of photographerslook at each other     88
Generalizing the results     92
Elevators of status     98
Summary     99
The consumers of fashion photographs     101
Are there two different types of consumers?     101
The role of magazines     103
The fashion editor     105
The advertising agencies     115
Comparing the fashion editor and the art director     125
Summary     125
The two markets for fashion photography     127
Markets through phenomenology     127
The two production markets for fashion photography     128
Gradual changes and the role of status     133
Radical change: transcending the meaning structure     134
This study and the theories employed     142
Summary     145
Towards a phenomenological sociology     147
Aesthetics in markets and society     147
Markets as a form of social interaction     152
The role of empirical phenomenology     155
A guide to phenomenological sociology     157
The action perspective     157
Objectivism versus subjectivism     160
Phenomenology     164
The philosopher: Edmund Husserl     164
The social scientist: Alfred Schutz     172
Phenomenologically inspired sociology     181
Empirical phenomenology     182
Empirical work     189
Notes     199
Bibliography     225
Index     238
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