A Business Anthropological Approach to the Study of Values: Evaluative Practices in Ceramic Art

Brian Moeran

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    This article describes and analyses preparations for the holding of an anthropologist potter's one-man show in a Japanese department store. It has two aims: first, to show the methodological and analytical strengths of business anthropology and second, to propose a sociological theory of multiple values that goes beyond economists’ simplified theory of value that is dependent solely on price. Based on participant observation, the article describes the strategic planning of, and preparations for, the fieldworker's own pottery exhibition in a department store located in northern Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four main islands and home to a long tradition of porcelain and stoneware production. In so doing, it focuses on the main players in the ceramic art world; the social interaction underpinning an exhibition; the conflicting ideals of ‘aesthetics’, display and money (pricing); and the ways in which different sets of values, and evaluating processes, affected the reception of the author's work. It concludes by developing a theory of values that could be usefully applied in fields such as cultural economics, consumer theory and design research.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCulture and Organization
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)195-210
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

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