Saturday, October 27, 2007

Viviana Zelizer

Viviana A. Zelizer is Lloyd Cotsen '50 Professor of Sociology at Princeton University. Her publications include The Social Meaning of Money, Pricing the Priceless Child, Morals and Markets, and The Purchase of Intimacy.

I recently asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
Here are two books I recently finished reading:

Charles Tilly’s Credit and Blame, forthcoming by Princeton University Press. The book pushes beyond Tilly’s marvelous, widely-read previous book Why? to show how people assign moral values, negative and positive to other people’s actions. What are we doing when we blame someone for anything from a personal slight to a physical disaster such as Katrina?

Oblivious to credit or blame, expert analyst of sex and love Pepper Schwartz has recently published Prime, a tell-all book about her own adventures in the worlds of sex and love.
Of Zelizer's The Purchase of Intimacy, Cass Sunstein wrote: "Do you think that the realm of money and the realm of intimacy are separate spheres? Viviana Zelizer will make you think again. A fascinating demonstration that romantic relationships are pervaded by transactions of multiple sorts -- and that we ignore those transactions at our peril."

Deirdre McCloskey added: "Are sociologists today the best economic scientists? On the evidence of Viviana Zelizer's striking book on the mix of the sacred and profane in our lives, it seems so."

Learn more about The Purchase of Intimacy at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Purchase of Intimacy.

--Marshal Zeringue