Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Schumpeter, Veblen and Bourdieu on Institutions and the Formation of Habits

Bögenhold, Dieter and Michaelides, Panayotis G. and Papageorgiou, Theofanis (2016): Schumpeter, Veblen and Bourdieu on Institutions and the Formation of Habits.


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As we know, Joseph Alois Schumpeter is one of the greatest economists of all times, while Thorstein Veblen is an economist and sociologist who made seminal contributions to the social sciences. Pierre Bourdieu, meanwhile, is one of the most famous structural sociologists, who has consistently worked on economic dynamics. These three scholars have laid the foundations of a socioeconomic perspective. However, several important aspects of their works remain less widely discussed, or even inadequately explored in a comparative manner. Of course, investigating the origins of their ideas in evolutionary and institutional economics and re-evaluating comparatively the influences that shaped their works is quite useful for promoting dialogue between Economics and Sociology. Within this framework, this essay focuses on the conceptual relationship between Schumpeter, Veblen and Bourdieu. Evolution and Change shape the economic life in their respective works and, in such a framework a central point of their analyses is the interdependence between the cultural, social and economic spheres. Furthermore, an economic sociology is built around the concept of habit formation. The three great authors’ systemic views focus on the various institutions and other aspects of cultural, social and economic life, where habits are formed and cover diverse fields and notions such as Consumption, Preferences, Art, Knowledge, Banking and even Capitalism. For instance, all three social scientists acknowledged the fact that the internal dynamics of capitalism introduce structural instabilities into the economic system. Also, they recognized that research and knowledge development is a collective social process. However, from a methodological perspective, their main emphasis is on the emerging dynamic evolution of habits, which is perceived as the interruption of already existing social norms and the conflict between routine and change. Several differences between Schumpeter, Veblen and Bourdieu are observed and analysed and ideas for future research are presented.

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