Gaby Harris & Mike Savage (2021)
Journal of Classical Sociology. Online first, pp. 1-7.
Introduction: “This book initially reads as relic of a dying breed: a weighty tome of ‘Theory’ duly delivered from the consecrated HQ of global theory development, Paris, by one of the world’s most distinguished social theorists, Luc Boltanski, alongside his co-author, Arnaud Esquerre. To offer extended discussions of enrichment and wealth with little corresponding attention to poverty, scarcity, stigma and exploitation flies in the face of the current ‘turn to inequality’, which has been the dominant social science trend over the past decade. The very style, and at times ponderous tone, of the book – with much theoretical speculation, many vignettes, but no systematic data analysis – appears out of keeping with our times. The impression of an old-fashioned theory book might be reinforced by a superficial browsing. Over 400 pages of dense text, packed with analytical elaborations and abstractions, coming to a head with a remarkable Appendix which systematizes the ‘Structures of Commodity Exchange’ in a set of algebraic formulations which most readers will find hard to fathom. Nonetheless, make no mistake, this is an arresting and impressive book which repays serious attention.”