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.
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.