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Economic Action, Fields and Uncertainty


  • Doris Hanappi


Pierre Bourdieu's field and habitus approach to the economy offers rich theoretical presuppositions of the interrelationship between social structure and agency, but they have not yet been sufficiently integrated into economic sociology. This article outlines the key theoretical assumptions of this approach in relation to those of the embeddedness tradition. Bringing the elements of field and habitus to the center of attention helps in examining how cognitive and historical factors matter for explaining individual action. It integrates different notions of uncertainty in economic literature into the discussion of the underlying action principles of the Bourdieuian approach. The study concludes that only a historical perspective which integrates social, structural and cognitive analysis can adequately explain the generation, reproduction, and transformation of individual action itself. The article sketches the broad conception of such a theoretical synthesis in the conclusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Doris Hanappi, 2011. "Economic Action, Fields and Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(4), pages 785-804.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:45:y:2011:i:4:p:785-804
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624450402

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    Cited by:

    1. Beckert, Jens & Rössel, Jörg & Schenk, Patrick, 2014. "Wine as a cultural product: Symbolic capital and price formation in the wine field," MPIfG Discussion Paper 14/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.

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