The Social Sources of Institutions: Thorstein Veblen

The English translation of my critical review of a book about Thorstein Veblen is now available on the website Books and Ideas (Collège de France):

Critical of capitalism and nationalism, the work of Thorstein Veblen focuses mainly on the analysis of institutions: their strengths, their weaknesses, and the way they manage to stabilize and build up in spite of their failures.


Les sources sociales des institutions. Publication à propos de Thorstein Veblen

Le professeur della Faille vient de publier une recension analytique d’un ouvrage portant sur Thorstein Veblen, un des pionniers de l’analyse transdisciplinaire en sciences sociales. À la fois sociologue, économiste, historien et politologue, l’auteur étasunien a contribué à l’émergence de la pensée critique.

Publié sur le très respecté site de La vie des idées (Collège de France), le texte du professeur della Faille profite de la récente publication du livre « Introduction à Thorstein Veblen » de Alice Le Goff (Paris Ouest-Nanterre) pour rappeler les grandes lignes de l’analyse institutionnelle de Thorstein Veblen. Il s’agit de comprendre comment cet auteur iconoclaste a contribué à la critique du capitalisme et du nationalisme.

A Sociological Understanding of Neoliberal Discourses of Development

In this article, the author calls for a sociological understanding of neoliberal discourses of development and underdevelopment. The author criticizes the idea that the utterance of discourse is different than other social practices and also warns against understanding discourses solely as acts of deception. Using a critical stance, the author shows how ideologies are giving shape to development projects and how social change is effectively conducted through acts of communication. The author proposes different ways to analyze various discourses of neoliberal development. Giving several examples from the literature, he shows how discourse analysts have examined many aspects of neoliberal discourses of development and social change. Amongst ways to understand discourses of development the author presents the following: studying ethnical and racial biases, examining discourses as storytelling, looking at their specific stylistic codes, understanding discourses as social interaction and how they produce concerted actions, seeing them as fluxes and containers of ideas, criticizing their justification of social hierarchy and their reinforcing of social domination. Also are presented elements of examining statistics, machines and artefacts as elements of neoliberal discourses. The author calls for more militant uses of discourse analysis. In conclusion, the author also raises some methodological, ethical and epistemological issues of the analysis of discourses.

Publication available at