Historical Social Research

Alexander Lenger: Socialization in the Academic and Professional Field: Revealing the Homo Oeconomicus Academicus. [Abstract]

The paper analyses the formation of the habitus of economists in Germany. To reconstruct the economic habitus, a qualitative agency analysis will be conducted, i.e., the agency of professors and the process of professional socialization will be revealed. The project follows up on the substantial literature on the indoctrination vs. self-selection debate in economics. In short, this debate asks why economists are more self-oriented than other groups. While some authors find strong evidence for a learning effect in economic studies, other au-thors provide evidence that a process of self-selection takes place before entry to the economic profession. Overall, the paper aims at answering how stable a habitus can be, and what forms of habitus modification professionals face when entering new fields. The results show that the widely used distinction between indoctrination and selection is not suitable. Rather, I will demonstrate that a field theory perspective considering the process of professional field socialization as a form of field-specific accumulation of capital is needed to explain the ambiguous results.

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