Capitalist Economy as a Precondition and Restraint of Modern and Contemporary Art Worlds

  • Erkki Sevänen
Part of the Sociology of the Arts book series (SOA)


This chapter deals with capitalist economy’s ambiguous relation to art. Capitalist economy was once, in the eighteenth century, a necessary precondition for the emerging of the modern system of art, as well as for art’s emancipation from the control of royal ruler families, churches, patrons, and guilds. In this sense, the emerging and establishing of capitalist ways of action made modern art’s relatively autonomous position in society possible. However, in current national societies and world society, art has increasingly merged with capitalist economy, in particular, with commercial entertainment culture, which has called this autonomy in question and, in part, suppressed it. The chapter clears up this developmental line and shows that the current hegemony of capitalist economy has also aroused critical resistance in contemporary art.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erkki Sevänen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Eastern FinlandJoensuuFinland

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