“How, Fevre asks in his brilliant new book, can we critique Max Weber’s “iron cage” of economic rationality if we’re looking at the world from inside it? The great intellectuals of the past – Marx, Durkheim, Simmel, Weber, Cooley and more recently Polyani –were deeply troubled by a growing market mentality that we now so tepidly accept as “inevitable.” I won’t spoil the story but Fevre puts his finger on the moment when things went off track, and sets us back on track so we can take an honest look at our lives today. This is an enormously important challenge to our basic thinking about the most important organizing force in the world today: the market. A must read.” ; Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of The Commercialization of Intimate Life, and co-editor of Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy
Chapter Six: Identity and Economic Behaviour
Identity and Economic Behaviour
The labour market is a political arena but, for the most part, individuals are not consciously engaged in an otherwise motiveless struggle for power and resources. In fact they act as they do because they believe what they are doing is right. The conjunction of self-interest and pursuit of the good has a long pedigree in the explanation of action in sociological theory. The assumption that much behaviour could be characterized in this way appeared in Weber's writing on nation and nationalism (Weber, 1968) and lay at the heart of Marx's theory of ideology (see Chapter 3). In Marx's theory of ideology the pursuit of the good would be more productive for some classes than for others.
Marx (1852/1934) ...