The Field of Art in Hamburg

Lecture and workshop with Dr. Volker Pekron (Hamburg)
December 19th, 2014

Volker Pekron deals with questions related to the distribution of contemporary art in Hamburg. As the frame of reference for his empirical study, he did not choose notions such as the »art world« or the »(operating) system art«, but Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of the field that is connoted with further concepts such as capital, habitus, illusio, belief, misrecognition, and symbolic power. Under objectivistic aspects, he emphasises – in contrast to methodological individualism and constructivist idealism – the trans-individual powers to which actors and institutions are also subjected in the fields of cultural production. Under subjectivistic aspects, he highlights the mental representations of those involved, particularly their dispositions, on which the struggles between them are based.

Volker Pekron’s lecture focuses on the findings of his study in regard to the transformations of the art field gained from the perception of its actors. In doing so, attention is directed to the effects of digitisation, the perceived strategies of auction houses, the role of collectors, and the increasing significance of art fairs.

The workshop concentrates first on questions regarding the relationship between centre and periphery in the art field. There, the interrelations between physical and social space build a special focus. Finally, Volker Pekron’s methods of empirical research, based on both qualitative and quantitative approaches, will be discussed.

Volker Pekron received his PhD in social sciences from the University of St. Gallen in 2014 for his research on the art field in Hamburg. His doctoral advisers were the sociologists Franz Schultheis and Thomas S. Eberle. He is presently working at the Faculty of Business Administration of the University of Hamburg.

The lecture is based on a cooperation of Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg with KIM, Innovation Incubator at Leuphana University of Lüneburg. The Innovation Incubator Lüneburg is an EU major project, financed by the European Regional Development Fund and co-funded by the federal state of Lower Saxony.