The Social Structures of the Economy
July 2005, Polity
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.
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.
Brilliant study by the most original sociologist of post-war France, the late Pierre Bourdieu.
Challenges the assumptions of orthodox economic theory, showing that the market is effectively constructed by the state (e.g. which can decide whether to promote private housing or collective provision)
Contends that supply, demand, the market and even the buyer and seller are products of a process of social construction.
Argues that sociology and economics are in fact part of a single discipline, of which economic transactions are in the end merely one aspect.