Description - The Social Structures of the Economy by Pierre Bourdieu
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
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
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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Format: Paperback / softback
(228mm x 158mm x 16mm)
Publisher: Polity Press
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Author Biography - Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu was the Professor of Sociology at the College de France.
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