High art and high finance : performing financialisation in the art market

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This research examines the financialisation of art within the tradition of STS-inflected market studies. The concept of financialisation has primarily emerged within political economy to analyse the discrepancy between booming finance and underperforming production. According to this body of literature, financialisation is fundamentally a political process revolving around the regime of accumulation. This presents a new challenge for market studies. In its earliest form, market studies maintained a political agnosticism that centred on calculation and calculative devices; their political implications and accompanying structural transitions have been largely unexplored. This study traces a material political economy of financialisation to construct the agencement of art finance. It examines a case study of ArtTactic, an art market analysis firm that offers regular art market reports, bespoke research for/to art market participants, and art finance education in the forms of lectures and podcasts. The study explores how financial devices are designed, introduced, and enacted in the art market. A specific mode of valuation and accumulation is enacted through the politics of market devices. ArtTactic conducts various performative works to implement these devices within and against the unique institutional structure of the art market. In navigating the multifaceted process of financialisation, I propose that this convergence can be further augmented by Bourdieu’s thinking tools.
Date of Award29 Nov 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorPhilip John Roscoe (Supervisor) & David John Dowell (Supervisor)


  • Art market
  • Financialisation
  • Market studies
  • Political economy
  • Bourdieu
  • Valuation
  • Accumulation

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