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Living in a Material WorldEconomic Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies$
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Trevor Pinch and Richard Swedberg

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262162524

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262162524.001.0001

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The Centrality of Materiality: Economic Theorizing from Xenophon to Home Economics and Beyond

The Centrality of Materiality: Economic Theorizing from Xenophon to Home Economics and Beyond

Chapter:
(p.57) 2 The Centrality of Materiality: Economic Theorizing from Xenophon to Home Economics and Beyond
Source:
Living in a Material World
Author(s):

Richard Swedberg

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262162524.003.0003

This chapter presents the beginnings of Western economics in ancient Greece, the concept of political economy along with the works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx, and the abstract theory of economics that emerged from Cornell University of United States. Western economics started out as a material theory of the household, and two important texts on it, Politics and Oeconomicus, were written by Aristotle and Xenophon respectively. The author also discusses The Wealth of Nations (1776), composed by Adam Smith and Capital (1867), written by Karl Marx. John Stuart Mill made the first attempt to introduce the idea of homo economicus and material objects are not found in Frank Knight’s account of homo economicus. The American Home Economics Association, created in 1909, explained the term “home economics,” which received support from the federal government through the Smith-Lever Act of 1914.

Keywords:   materiality, Western economics, household, political economy, home economics

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