[OPE-L] The Social Structures Of The Economy by Pierre Bourdieu

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Fri Sep 09 2005 - 23:27:40 EDT

The Social Structures Of The Economy (Paperback)
by Pierre Bourdieu

Editorial Reviews

Book Description
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.

Product Details

        Paperback: 400 pages

        Publisher: Polity Press (June 30, 2005)

        Language: English

        ISBN: 0745625401

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