The empirical question in this paper addresses problems of institutionalizing inventories of knowledge under conditions of uncertainty. As a focus, negotiations of discursive evaluation of the new or of inventions as innovations lead the empirical approach. This determines the empirical approach to understanding the process of legitimation, and makes patterns as well as variations intelligible. What characterizes this research project is an unconventional theoretically based setting by the sociology of knowledge approach to discourse analysis (from now on SKAD) (Keller 2008) that will be discussed in this paper. An extended comprehension of social innovation is tied to the field of contemporary art where the assembly of novelty is conventional and actors are mainly engaged with the selection and valuation of novelty. In the first section of the article I introduce my methodological and theoretical framework and relate them to questions of how to conduct empirical research on innovations. The case study explores the question how contemporary art is legitimized with reference to Howard S. Becker’s theory of art worlds. It builds a bridge between a semantic level of discourse and the level of discursive practices. Section two introduces the field and the case of the study, and how the study is arranged. Section three describes the methods used, discussing the relevant aspects of the study for innovation research, and leads into the conclusion.