The calculative reproduction of social structures: The field of gem mining in Sri Lanka

Chandana Gnanapriya Alawattage

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31 Citations (Scopus)
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Drawing on Bourdieu's political economy of symbolic forms and symbolic power, and on an ethnography of gem mining rituals in Sri Lanka, this paper aims to provide an empirical illustration of the connection between calculative practices and the social structure of capital. It shows how capital is socially structured around particular fields of reproduction, how the field-specific organisation of capital is implicated in the presence and absence of calculative and control practices, and how calculative templates and procedures, as symbolic systems, simultaneously perform interrelated but distinct functions of cognition, communication and domination. The paper advances the argument that calculative templates and procedures constitute a field-specific logic and they are the symbolic means through which structural properties of the social systems are cognised, communicated, reproduced and transformed into a set of practical dispositions that orient day-to-day work practices, domination and resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Perspectives On Accounting
Issue number1
Early online date15 Oct 2010
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Bourdieu
  • Calculative practices
  • Absence ofaccounting
  • Forms ofcapital
  • Ethnography
  • Gem mining
  • Habitus
  • Symbolic forms
  • symblic power
  • Sri Lanka


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