- Purchase/rental options available:
This article examines how the economic field of marginalism—and therefore, modern economics—was established as much through the material conditions of its publications as through its ideas. In recognising that economics was partly constituted by the materiality of its production, it concludes that science publishing is not simply a transparent conduit of peer-reviewed ideas. Using several editions of William Stanley Jevons’s Theory of Politcal Economy from 1871 to 1911 as a case study, the article follows technological and organizational changes necessary for the more viable publication of mathematical formulae, the use of front matter and of bibliographies in the construction of the field, and the subsumption of marginalist thinking into the publishing startegies of Macmillans, one of the biggest English-language trade publishers of the day. In establishing a print culture history for the constitution of economics, the article also takes into account wider circulations of economic ideas, and the imbrication of early economics texts into social conflict, paradigmatically with the “land question” and Henry George’s Progress and Poverty.