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Social Meaning Of Money, The

In her book The Social Meaning of Money (1994), Viviana Zelizer challenged the previously taken- for-granted notion held in both economics and ­sociology that money is a single, completely fungible instrument, devoid of social meaning. Instead, drawing on historical documents (e.g., home economics books and popular magazines) in the United States from the 1870s to the 1930s, she shows how our social and economic lives are inextricably ­intertwined. Rather than an impersonal instrument, ­Zelizer argues, money is often used to establish, maintain, negotiate, transform, and terminate ­interpersonal relations. Moreover, she contends that money is not a singular instrument; rather, through the process of “earmarking” money—or placing constraints on its use—individuals create multiples monies. Multiple monies can be monies that are designated for certain uses, such ...

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