The Social Structures of the Economy
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The Social Structures of the Economy

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Much orthodox economic theory is based on assumptions which are treated as self-evident: supply and demand are regarded as independent entities, the individual is assumed to be a rational agent who knows his interests and how to make decisions corresponding to them, and so on. But one has only to examine an economic transaction closely, as Pierre Bourdieu does here for the buying and selling of houses, to see that these abstract assumptions cannot explain what happens in reality.


As Bourdieu shows, the market is constructed by the state, which can decide, for example, whether to promote private housing or collective provision. And the individuals involved in the transaction are immersed in symbolic constructions which constitute, in a strong sense, the value of houses, neighbourhoods and towns.


The abstract and illusory nature of the assumptions of orthodox economic theory has been criticised by some economists, but Bourdieu argues that we must go further. Supply, demand, the market and even the buyer and seller are products of a process of social construction, and so-called 'economic' processes can be adequately described only by calling on sociological methods. Instead of seeing the two disciplines in antagonistic terms, it is time to recognize that sociology and economics are in fact part of a single discipline, the object of which is the analysis of social facts, of which economic transactions are in the end merely one aspect.


This brilliant study by the most original sociologist of post-war France will be essential reading for students and scholars of sociology, economics, anthropology and related disciplines.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 180 pages
  • 160 x 227 x 22mm | 402g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0745625401
  • 9780745625409
  • 169,704

Back cover copy

Much orthodox economic theory is based on assumptions which aretreated as self-evident: supply and demand are regarded asindependent entities, the individual is assumed to be a rationalagent who knows his interests and how to make decisionscorresponding to them, and so on. But one has only to examine aneconomic transaction closely, as Pierre Bourdieu does here for thebuying and selling of houses, to see that these abstractassumptions cannot explain what happens in reality.


As Bourdieu shows, the market is constructed by the state, whichcan decide, for example, whether to promote private housing orcollective provision. And the individuals involved in thetransaction are immersed in symbolic constructions whichconstitute, in a strong sense, the value of houses, neighbourhoodsand towns.


The abstract and illusory nature of the assumptions of orthodoxeconomic theory has been criticised by some economists, butBourdieu argues that we must go further. Supply, demand, the marketand even the buyer and seller are products of a process of socialconstruction, and so-called 'economic' processes can beadequately described only by calling on sociological methods.Instead of seeing the two disciplines in antagonistic terms, it istime to recognize that sociology and economics are in fact part ofa single discipline, the object of which is the analysis of socialfacts, of which economic transactions are in the end merely oneaspect.


This brilliant study by the most original sociologist ofpost-war France will be essential reading for students and scholarsof sociology, economics, anthropology and related disciplines.
show more

Table of contents

Introduction.
Part I The House Market.
Chapter 1 Dispositions of the Agents and the Structure of the Field of Reproduction.
Chapter 2 -The State and the Construction of the Market.
Chapter 3 - The Field of Local Powers.
Chapter 4 - A Contract under Duress.
Conclusion - The Foundations of Petit Bourgeois Suffering.
Part II Principles of an Economic Anthropology.
Postscript - From the National to the International Field.
Notes.
Index.
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Review quote

"[T]he application of Bourdieua s ideas to the housing market is of great interest and this book can contribute to the debates surrounding alternative or complementary understandings of that which is deemed a economica , to the current hegemony of classical economic approaches." Housing Studies
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About Pierre Bourdieu

Pierre Bourdieu was the Professor of Sociology at the College de France.
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Rating details

62 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 26% (16)
4 44% (27)
3 24% (15)
2 6% (4)
1 0% (0)
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