Insegnamento a.a. 2008-2009



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 15
ACME-LS (6 credits - I sem. - CC)
Course Director:

Classes: 15 (I sem.)

Course Objectives

The course aims at introducing students to the cultural history of cultural consumption, providing them with the analytical tools and historical knowledge necessary to understand the stratified value of cultural products and their interconnection with the cultural evolution of different societies.

Course Content Summary

The raise of the so called cultural consumptions is one of the main trends of global economies. On the background of a general expansion of cultural consumptions, however, the various exchanges involving different forms of arts represent increasingly problematic evidence. Which consequences are produced by the consideration of Art as a product? Which are the relationships between the art markets and the rest of economic/social system? The course will critically consider this theme in two different sections.


The first part of the course will be focused on the analysis of the general trend of cultural consumption; on the technical difficulties raised by the effort to evaluate its economic relevance and its boundaries; and on the conceptual problems posed by the dominant interpretative paradigm of symbolic exchange. Different methodological issues will be considered:

  • Those related to quantitative measurements of cultural consumptions, to the sources available and to the evaluation of their consequences (impact studies).
  • The problem raised by the definition of  consumption, particularly in relation with exchanges involving artistic products, will also be considered. A critical overlook of relevant economic and sociological literature on the topic of consumption of contemporary art will be provided (i.e. Bentham, Jevons, Veblen, Bourdieu, Becker, Baudrillard) 


In the second part of the course a number of examples of connections between cultural consumptions and cultural history will be examined in order to outline the number of connection and variables that are implied in the comprehension of the cultural consumption historical evolution.

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

The final exam will be a written dissertation on two open questions on the listed books as indicated in the following paragraph.


A text list will be delivered at the beginning of the course, differentiating the compulsory part (a selection books) from the part selected by the students (a selection of articles or monographic contributions).


There will be a differentiation  between people that attend the lesson and those who are not attending.

Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 14/05/2008 11:32