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The Social Meaning of Money:
Pin Money, Paychecks, Poor Relief, and Other Currencies
(Original Edition)
Viviana A. Zelizer

Winner of the 1996 Culture Section Book Award, American Sociological Association

Paperback | 1997 | $45.00 | £37.95 | ISBN: 9780691048215
304 pp. | 5 x 8
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A dollar is a dollar--or so most of us believe. Indeed, it is part of the ideology of our time that money is a single, impersonal instrument that impoverishes social life by reducing social relations to cold, hard cash. Arguing against this conventional wisdom, Viviana Zelizer, a distinguished social scientist and prize-winning author, shows how people have invented their own forms of currency, earmarking money in ways that baffle market theorists, incorporating funds into webs of friendship and family relations, and otherwise varying the process by which spending and saving takes place.


"Viviana Zelizer has written an interesting and informative book showing that there is much more to the meaning of money than . . . economic theory and its formidable equations ever imply. Money is a medium of exchange. But that is only the beginning."--John Kenneth Galbraith, The New York Times Book Review

"Viviana Zelizer's book is one of the richest and most thoughtful investigations of [money's] weirdness, examining in detail how money works in the real world, how we try to manage and control it, why we freely give it away in some circumstances-think, for instance, of tipping‹and how money shapes the relationships we have with one another."


"Zelizer has a genius for detecting hidden order in everyday practices.... Gently but firmly she uses her discoveries to overturn widespread beliefs in the power of money to corrupt, standardize, and depersonalize social ties. Best of all, she writes of these complex matters with grace, lucidity, wit, and humanity."--Charles Tilly, Columbia University

Table of Contents:

1 The Marking of Money
2 The Domestic Production of Monies
3 Gifted Money
4 Poor People's Money
5 With Strings Attached: The Earmarking of
Charitable Cash
6 Contested Monies
7 What Does Money Mean?

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Viviana A. Zelizer:

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Hardcover published by Basic in 1994

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File created: 3/4/2017

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