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Sociologia : Revista da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto
A formação do habitus económico
AbstractAlgeria during the war of national liberation offered a quasi-laboratory situation for analyzing the mismatch between the economic dispositions fashioned in a precapitalist economy and the rationalized economic cosmos imposed by colonization. Ethnographic observation of this mismatch, animated by a quasi-native familiarity with the workings of a peasant economy embedded in relations of group honor, revealed that, far from being axiomatic, the most elementary economic behaviors (working for a wage, saving, credit, birth control, etc.) have definite economic and social conditions of access which both economic theory and the New economic sociology ignore. Acquiring the spirit of calculation required by the modern economy entails a veritable conversion via the apostasy of the embodied beliefs and of the logic of philia that underpins exchange in traditional Kabyle society. The “folk economics” of a cook from Algiers allows us to grasp the practical economic sense guiding the emerging Algerian working class at the dawn of the country’s independence by recapitulating in biographical terms the process of collective acquisition of a properly economic habitus undergone by the generation of Algerians uprooted from their rural hinterland by the market economy and the war.
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