Menu Expand

Shared Mental Models and Habitus Towards a Mentality-Driven Economics

Lenger, Alexander

Schmollers Jahrbuch, Vol. 138 (2018), Iss. 1: pp. 31–52

Additional Information

Article Details


Author Details

Alexander Lenger, Center for Economic Education, University of Siegen, Kohlbettstraße 15, 57068 Siegen.

Abstract translated


The article shows that the work of Thorstein Veblen and Pierre Bourdieu builds a foundation of a mentality-driven contextual economics. In order to achieve this goal, it will be demonstrated that Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of distinction, and his concept of habitus, is a widely overlooked descendant of Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class and that both approaches highlight the necessity for including mental models into economic analysis. Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to develop a comparative analysis of Veblen’s and Bourdieu’s theories of cultural capital and mental models to demonstrate the proximity of both concepts to contemporary economic thought. In short, I argue that Bourdieu’s habitus concept must be understood as a logical progression of Veblen’s theory of distinction, and that the findings from both approaches call for a turn towards mentality-driven economic analysis.

JEL Codes: B15, B25, B41, B52, Z1, Z13

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Alexander Lenger: Shared Mental Models and Habitus: Towards a Mentality-Driven Economics 1
Abstract 1
1. Introduction 1
2. The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Investigation of Institutions 4
2.1 Instinct and ‘Habit of Thought’ as Anthropological Categories 5
2.2 Prestige and Demonstrative Consumption 6
2.3 The Leisure Class 7
3. Taste, Distinction, and Habitus in the Work of Veblen and Bourdieu 8
3.1 Distinction and Class Tastes 9
3.2 Dominant Tastes and a Sense of Distinction 1
4. From Veblen to Bourdieu: Towards a Mentality-Driven Economics 1
5. Conclusion 1
References 1