'Nigel Thrift offers us the sort of cultural analysis of global capitalism that has long been needed - one that emphasizes the innovative energy of global capitalism. The book avoids stale denouncements and offers instead a view of capitalism as a form of practice'
- Karin Knorr Cetina, Professor of Sociology, University of Konstanz, Germany
Capitalism is well known for producing a form of existence where `everything solid melts into air'. But what happens when capitalism develops theories about itself? Are we moving into a condition in which capitalism can be said to possess a brain?
These questions are pursued in this sparkling and thought-provoking book. Thrift looks at what he calls 'the cultural circuit of capitalism', the mechanism for generating new theories of capitalism. The book traces the rise of this circuit back to the 1960s when a series of institutions locked together to interrogate capitalism, to the present day, when these institutions are moving out to the Pacific basin and beyond. What have these theories produced? How have they been implicated in the speculative bubbles that characterized the late twentieth century? What part have they played in developing our understanding of human relations?
Building on an inter-disciplinary approach which embraces the core social sciences, Thrift outlines an exciting new theory for understanding capitalism. His book is of interest to readers in geography, social theory, anthropology and cultural economics.
Nigel Thrift is Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Bristol. He has co-edited and co-authored numerous books; most recently Writing the Rural: Five Cultural Geographies and Globalisation, Institutions and Regional Development in Europe. Thrift has three co-edited or co-authored books in press The City of London and Social Power in Modern Britain; Diffusing Geography: Essays for Peter Hagget; and Mapping the Subject.
A groundbreaking and comprehensive introduction to this key topic, Thrift’s outstanding work brings together further writings from a body of work that has come to be known as non-representational theory. This noteworthy book makes a significant contribution to the literature in this area and is essential reading for researchers and postgraduates in the fields of social theory, sociology, geography, anthropology and cultural studies.
"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist
"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal
"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.
A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.
These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.
Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics.
Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.
What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and—if the right questions are asked—is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking.
Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.
Bonus material added to the revised and expanded 2006 editionThe original New York Times Magazine article about Steven D. Levitt by Stephen J. Dubner, which led to the creation of this book.Seven “Freakonomics” columns written for the New York Times Magazine, published between August 2005 and April 2006.Selected entries from the Freakonomics blog, posted between April 2005 and May 2006 at http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/.