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2022/2023  BA-BMAKV2201U  What is cultural economy?

English Title
What is cultural economy?

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 40
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Business Administration and Market Dynamics and Cultural Analysis
Course coordinator
  • Alexander Dobeson - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Sociology
  • Cultural studies
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 16-02-2022

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The student should be able to:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the main approaches in the field of cultural economy
  • Understand and explain what culture is and how it shapes the economy
  • Explain the cultural dimensions of markets, property rights and goods
  • Apply the cultural economy perspective to case studies
  • Engage critical reflection with the course literature and peer-to-peer-feedback
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved (see section 13 of the Programme Regulations): 1
Compulsory home assignments
Peer review (max. 2 pages)
What is Cultural Economy?:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Essay
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the fundamental role of culture in economic life. 


Drawing on literature from a variety of different disciplines including economic sociology, history, anthropology and cultural studies, students aquire the theoretical and methodological tools to analyze, understand and explain the cultural dimensions of markets. Emphasis is put on the critical engagement with selected case studies including a wide-range of different topics including art, fashion models, life insurances, drugs, natural resources, and human organs.


The course is structured around the following themes: i. Classical accounts of cultural economy, ii. The cultural embeddedness of economic action, iii. The biographies of economic things, iv. The valuation of goods in markets, v. Morals and markets, vi. Contested commodities, vii. Performing markets, viii. The cultural transformation of the contemporary economy, part 1.: economization and marketization. ix.: The cultural transformation of the economy, part 2.: financialization and assetisation. 


Description of the teaching methods
The course consists of lectures and seminars in which theoretical concepts are presented and discussed. Students engage in group work and joint discussions to collaborate and learn how critically discuss the course literature with particular emphasis on methodology, the relation between theory and empirical data and logical coherence in argumentation. One session will be dedicated to prepare a research question and proposal for the final assignment in which students learn how to discuss each other's ideas based on peer review.
Feedback during the teaching period
Oral feedback upon request during office hours.
Student workload
Total 206 hours
Class participation 36 hours
Readings & assignments 70 hours
Examination 70 hours
Expected literature

Appadurai, A. (1986). The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective.

Cambridge University Press. 


Beckert, J., & Aspers, P. (Eds.). (2011). The Worth of Goods. Valuation & Pricing in the Economy. Oxford University Press. 


Beckert, J., & Musselin, C. (Eds.). (2013). Constructing Quality: The Classification of Goods in Markets. Oxford University Press. 


Birch, K., & Muniesa, F. (Eds.). (2020). Turning Things into Assets in Technoscientific Capitalism. MIT Press. 


Callon, M. (1998). The Laws of the Market. Blackwell. 


Fourcade, M. (2011). Cents and Sensibility: Economic Valuation and the Nature of "Nature". American Journal of Sociology, 116(6), 1721-1777. 


Fourcade, M., & Healy, M. (2007). Moral Views of Market Society. Annual Review of Sociology, 33, 285-311. 


Healy, K. (2000). Embedded Altruism: Blood Collection Regimes and the European Union's Donor Population. American Journal of Sociology, 105(6), 1633-1657. 


Karpik, L. (2010). Valuing the Unique. The Economics of Singularities. Princeton University Press. 


Mears, A. (2011). Pricing Beauty. The Making of A Fashion Model. University of California Press. 


Thompson, E. P. (1971). The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century. Past & Present,50, 76-136. 


van Doorn, N., & Velthuis, O. (2017). A good hustle: the moral economy of market competition in adult webcam modeling. Journal of Cultural Economy, 11(3), 177-192.  


Weber, M. (1930). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Routledge.


Zelizer, V. (2011). Economic lives. How culture shapes the economy. Princeton University Press. 


Last updated on 16-02-2022