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Velthuis, Olav

Velthuis, Olav


Olav Velthuis, born in The Netherlands, in 1972. Ph.D. from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam.

Fellow (1 Sept 2016 – 30 June 2017)

The moral economy of adult content: how a taboo industry survives in an era of free pornography

Research Question

The overall research question of this project is how the pornography industry manages to survive at a time when new technology is permanently disrupting the industry, pornography is widely available for free, and the consumption of pornography is considered to be taboo.

Project Description

The pornography industry is a multibillion dollar industry. But how the industry works, is hardly known. The industry is puzzling because the main product is widely available for free; it is widely seen as morally illegitimate; and its business models are permanently disrupted. How can such a market be sustainable? To answer this question the project will focus on the Dutch pornography industry, which has historically been one of the global production centers. It relies on interviews with employers and employees in the sex industry who have developed new business models, and who have tried to legitimate their business; moreover, it studies how and why the rise of the online pornography business has resulted in new and more stringent regulation.

Selected Publications

Talking Prices. Symbolic Meanings of Prices on the Market for Contemporary Art, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005

Imaginary Economics: Critique, Affirmation or Play, Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2005

Cosmopolitan Canvases. The Globalization of Markets for Contemporary Art (with Stefano Baia Curioni, Bocconi University), Oxford University Press, 2015.

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