Stockholm university

Martin Gustavsson

About me

Associate Professor, Economic History

Martin Gustavsson is Associate Professor in Economic History and researcher at Score, a multidisciplinary research centre run jointly by Stockholm University and the Stockholm School of Economics.




My research is historical oriented. Thematically it is close to sociology of education, sociology of culture and economic sociology.

One theme is about how external resources of various kinds influence the behavior of organizations. An example of this type of research is the funding of higher education in Sweden before and after the economic crises of the early 1970s and 1990s, and the organizational consequences of increasing/decreasing grants.

Another theme concerns class-determined choices in consumption markets. How do different types of resources – economic and cultural capital – affect the buying behavior of individuals? I have, for instance, studied the polarized choices of economic and cultural elites in the art market, at the time of the socio-economic crisis of the 1930s with sharpened conflicts in society.

A third theme deals with the rationalization of labour processes and the organization of markets. Examples of this research are Taylorization of office work after the 1930s crisis and hyper-rationalization of the product control in consumer markets after the crises of the early 1970s and 1990s.


Selected from Stockholm University publication database (DiVA)

Examples of Sociology of Education

Examples of Sociology of Culture

  • Gustavsson, Martin (2023), ‘Class-Determined Taste for Gothenburg Colourists and Stockholm Colourists: A Comparison’ in Kristoffer Arvidsson (ed.) Wonderful Colour. Gothenburg Colourism in a New Light, Stockholm: Appell Förlag, pp. 166–180, 376–378.

    A Bourdieu-inspired analysis of taste polarities within the upper class in the 1930s, based on an examination of the sales records of various art galleries.

    Read more about Class-Determined Taste for Gothenburg Colourists and Stockholm Colourists : A Comparison (
  • Gustavsson, Martin & Andreas Melldahl (2020), ‘The social closure of the cultural elite. The case of artists in Sweden, 1945–2004’ in Francois Denord, Mikael Palme & Bertrand Réau (eds), Researching Elites and Power. Theory, Methods, Analyses. Cham: Springer, pp. 223–239.

    An increasingly narrow social recruitment to top positions in various parts of the Swedish art field over time is analyzed with the help of Pierre Bourdieu’s field concept and sources about groups that populate prestigious schools and galleries.

    Read more about The social closure of the cultural elite: The case of artists in Sweden, 1945–2004 (
  • Gustavsson, Martin (2019), ‘A vanguard claiming ground – Swedish artists on the market and within the state 1930–1955’, in Benedikt Hjartarson, Andrea Kollnitz, Per Stounbjerg & Tania Ørum (eds), A Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries 1925–1950, Leiden: Brill Rodopi, pp. 597–614.

    An investigation of conflicts between artists with different gallerists (in a field of cultural production) and art consumers with different assets and taste (in a field of consumption) and the staffing of the Public Art Agency Sweden (the field of higher state administration) with resourceful artists, gallerists, and art consumers.

    Read more about A vanguard claiming ground: Swedish artists on the market and within the state 1930–1955 (

Examples of Economic Sociology

  • Gustavsson, Martin & Katharina Rahnert (2023), ‘Reglering i takt med tiden. Revisionslagstiftning i ett samhällsekonomiskt perspektiv 1895–1995’ in Katharina Rahnert & Peter Öhman (eds) Revision – i går, i dag och i morgon, Stockholm: Ekerlids förlag, pp. 64–95.

    Against the background of how Swedish audit legislation has been related to overall socio-economic development trends and capitalist crises, the process behind new regulation in 1895 and 1944 is analyzed in detail.

    Read more about Reglering i takt med tiden: Revisionslagstiftning i ett samhällsekonomiskt perspektiv 1895–1995 (
  • Arnberg, Klara, Gustavsson, Martin & Tamm Hallström, Kristina (2022), ‘Under the influence of commercial values. Neoliberalized business-consumer relations in the Swedish certification market, 1988–2018’, Enterprise and Society, 24 (3), 647–675.

    Changing ways of regulating consumer markets is examined: from state test labs’ physical control of companies’ products to private certification companies’ language-oriented control of companies’ formulations about how their management systems are supposed to work.

    Read more about Under the Influence of Commercial Values: Neoliberalized Business-Consumer Relations in the Swedish Certification Market, 1988-2018 (
  • Gustavsson, Martin (2021), ‘En konsthalls materiella förutsättningar. Om Baumols dilemma och organisatorisk glömska 1923–2020’ in Andréas Hagström (ed.) Göteborgs Konsthall. En hundraårig konsthistoria, Göteborg och Lund: Göteborgs Konsthall och Null & Void Books, pp. 217–256.

    A study of cultural financing that discusses Baumol’s dilemma – the difficulties of increasing productivity, without quality reductions, in a sector with ever-increasing costs – and the paradox that the source material situation deteriorates as the zeal for measurement and documentation increases.

    Read more about En konsthalls materiella förutsättningar : Om Baumols dilemma och organisatorisk glömska 1923–2020 (

Show all publications by Martin Gustavsson at Stockholm University