Fields of Production and the Social Structure of Demand

Fields of Research

The final major topic at the School is the analysis of the embedding of markets in larger institutional complexes. In Pierre Bourdieu's terminology, these configurations of institutions are called fields of (cultural) production. In such fields, not only economic goods but also their esthetic and normative evaluations are produced. From this perspective, the interplay between actors and institutions in the creation of goods and their meaning becomes a central topic of economic sociology and economics. The increasing shift in consumer demand from commodities that have mainly instrumental value towards goods that are normatively and esthetically evaluated makes the understanding of evaluation increasingly important. Research in this area also studies the relevance of this development for core explanatory categories in the investigation of social inequality, such as class, economic stratification, and lifestyles.

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