Speaking of Economics

How to Get in the Conversation

By Arjo Klamer

© 2007 – Routledge

202 pages | 13 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415395113
pub: 2007-02-19
US Dollars$72.95
Hardback: 9780415395106
pub: 2007-01-25
US Dollars$195.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Making sense of economists and their world in a persuasive and entertaining style, Arjo Klamer, the author of a number of influential books including Conversation with Economists and The Consequences of Economic Rhetoric, shows that economics is as much about how people interact as it is about the models, the mathematics, the econometrics, the theories and the ideas that come from the enormous aggregate of economics literature. Knowing and understanding economics requires both bookwork and mingling with other economists.

Viewing the subject as a collection of conversations, Klamer examines fundamental disagreements over the nature and purpose of the discipline, addressing how it is that a discipline that so permeates daily life is at once ‘soft’ and scientific, powerful and ignored, noble and disdained and in a reader-friendly style – without eschewing academic methodology demonstrates economics to be a living, breathing discipline rooted in the real world.

Whether you are a student, academician, journalist, practising economist or interested outsider, Speaking of Economics will get you interested in a conversation about economics.


'This is an engaging book, in which the author's long association with, knowledge of, and affection for his field easily shows through. Summing Up: Highly recommended.' - A. R. Sanderson, University of Chicago, February 2008 issue of CHOICE.

Table of Contents

1. The Strangeness of the Discipline 2. Economics is a Conversation or Better, a Bunch of Conversations 3. What it Takes to be an Academic Dog or the Culture of the Academic Conversation 4. It’s the Attention, Stupid! 5. A Good Scientific Conversation, or Contribution Thereto, is Truthful, Meaningful and Serves Certain Interests 6. The Art of Economic Persuasion: About Rhetoric and All That 7. Why Disagreements Among Economists Persist, Why Economists Need to Brace Themselves for Differences Within their Simultaneous Conversations and their Conversations Over Time and Why they May Benefit from Knowing about Classicism, Modernism and postmodernism 8. How and Why Everyday Conversations Differ from Academic Ones and How and Why Academic Conversations Clash with Political Ones

About the Author

Arjo Klamer is Professor of Cultural Economics at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Dean of the Academia Vitae.

About the Series

Economics as Social Theory

Social Theory is experiencing something of a revival within economics. Critical analyses of the particular nature of the subject matter of social studies and of the types of method, categories and modes of explanation that can legitimately be endorsed for the scientific study of social objects, are re-emerging. Economists are again addressing such issues as the relationship between agency and structure, between economy and the rest of society, and between the enquirer and the object of enquiry. There is a renewed interest in elaborating basic categories such as causation, competition, culture, discrimination, evolution, money, need, order, organization, power probability, process, rationality, technology, time, truth, uncertainty, value etc.

The objective for this series is to facilitate this revival further. In contemporary economics the label “theory” has been appropriated by a group that confines itself to largely asocial, ahistorical, mathematical “modelling”. Economics as Social Theory thus reclaims the “Theory” label, offering a platform for alternative rigorous, but broader and more critical conceptions of theorizing.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Economic Conditions