Historical Social Research

Rainer Diaz-Bone: Economics of Convention Meets Foucault. [Abstract]

The contribution examines concepts and the methodology of Michel Foucault from the standpoint of the French institutionalist approach of economics of convention (in short EC). EC is briefly introduced. Then, it is argued that Foucault should be regarded as an “ally” for EC, because his theory shares main positions with EC, but Foucault also provides concepts and methodological strategies, which could improve EC’s capabilities to analyze practices and strategies of convention-based processes as critique, justification and the social construction of qualities and worth. Some representatives of EC have already adopted Foucaultian concepts. Foucault also pioneered the analysis in domains, highly relevant for EC, as in the field of law and neoliberalism, but these works are not well recognized so far. Moreover, Foucault began the study of individual’s strategies of self-conduct and self-formation, which EC approached later on as well. The article claims that it is especially Foucault’s notions of episteme and power as well as Fou-caultian discourse analysis, which offer innovative theoretical and methodological perspectives for EC.

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