Knowing Capitalism

book12About This Book 

`This is an ambitious, original, and complex treatment of key aspects of contemporary capitalism. It makes a major contribution because it profoundly destabilizes the scholarship on globalization, the so-called new economy, information technology, distinct contemporary business cultures and practices’ – Saskia Sassen, author ofGlobalization and its Discontents

A broad array of theories are put to work to illuminate this vast and yet neglected topic: strategy and tactics, complexity theory, performativity, actor network theory, film theory, material culture, theories of non-places, embodiment, sensuous geography/sociology, ethnomethodology and non-representational theory.

`Nigel Thrift offers us the sort of cultural analysis of global capitalism that has long been needed – one that emphasizes the innovative energy of global capitalism. The book avoids stale denouncements and offers instead a view of capitalism as a form of practice’ – Karin Knorr Cetina, Professor of Sociology, University of Konstanz, Germany

Capitalism is well known for producing a form of existence where `everything solid melts into air’. But what happens when capitalism develops theories about itself? Are we moving into a condition in which capitalism can be said to possess a brain?

These questions are pursued in this sparkling and thought-provoking book. Thrift looks at what he calls “the cultural circuit of capitalism,” the mechanism for generating new theories of capitalism. The book traces the rise of this circuit back to the 1960s when a series of institutions locked together to interrogate capitalism, to the present day, when these institutions are moving out to the Pacific basin and beyond. What have these theories produced? How have they been implicated in the speculative bubbles that characterized the late twentieth century? What part have they played in developing our understanding of human relations?

Building on an inter-disciplinary approach which embraces the core social sciences, Thrift outlines an exciting new theory for understanding capitalism. His book is of interest to readers in Geography, Social Theory, Antrhopology and Cultural Economics.

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Table of Contents 

Adventures of Capitalism

The Cultural Circuit of Capitalism


The Rise of Soft Capitalism

The Place of Complexity

Virtual Capitalism

The Globalization of Reflexive Business Knowledge

Cultures on the Brink: Re-Engineering the Soul of Capitalism on a Global Scale, with Kris Olds


`It’s the Romance, Not the Finance, that Makes the Business Worth Pursuing’

Disclosing a New Market Culture

Performing Cultures in the New Economy

The Automatic Production of Space, with Shaun French

Closer to the Machine? Intelligent Environments, New Forms of Possession and the Rise of the Supertoy

Electric Animals

New Models of Everyday Life? Remembering the Technological Unconscious by Foregrounding Knowledges of Postition

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Web Extra

Other articles on the this topic available to read at SAGE Journals online:

Theory Culture and Society

Body and Society

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Other Books on the Topic 

Other books on social theory available at: Back to top

Other Books by the Author 

Nigel Thrift

Spatial Formations (1996)

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