Von der Kunst, KünstlerIn zu sein. Eine Untersuchung des sozialen Feldes der Bildenden Kunst in Wien

Anna Dibiasi, Zana Simic, Michaela Weiß

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper


Despite the vast research on the precarious living and working situation of fine artists, little is known about the conditions underlying the entrance and positioning in the social field of fine arts. The impression emerging from the existing literature is that research in this context has mostly been quantitative in nature, which might explain this gap. This qualitative empirical study focusing on the perspective of fine artists working in the fields of painting and sculpture, steps up to fill this academic void. The study is primarily based on the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu's concept of "social field", taking into account the social trajectory of the artists in the field competing for the different forms of power (or species of capital) as well as their dispositions through Bourdieu's notion of habitus (Bourdieu 1993). Regarding the methodology of this study, qualitative interviews with seven fine artists as well as three interviews with field experts have been conducted. An in-depth system analysis of these interviews complemented by an analysis of major themes adds nuance to our understanding of the conditions underlying an entrance in the field of fine arts and of how one might become established in this particular field. The importance of the two main academic institutions in Vienna is a significant finding in the context of field entrance. Furthermore, light has been shed on the field-specific understanding of the role and purpose of the fine art market and its institutions. The third major finding revolves around the perceived importance of funding of the arts in the form of public and private monetary benefits and non-monetary grants. Furthermore, with a view to the habitus concept, special attention has been paid to socially constituted competencies and dispositions in the artistic field throughout the whole analyzing process (Bourdieu 1993). Apart from providing insight into the process of entering and positioning in the field of fine arts, this empirical study has also contributed to future research in this area and might be taken into account by governmental agencies in terms of the provision of funding and grants to artists and cultural organizations. (authors' abstract)
Original languageGerman (Austria)
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameSchriftenreihe / Forschungsbereich Wirtschaft und Kultur

WU Working Paper Series

  • Schriftenreihe / Forschungsbereich Wirtschaft und Kultur

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