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Economic sociology is the study of the social cause and effect of various economic phenomena. The field can be broadly divided into a classical period and a contemporary one, known as "new economic sociology".
The classical period was concerned particularly with modernity and its constituent aspects, including rationalisation, secularisation, urbanisation, and social stratification. As sociology arose primarily as a reaction to capitalist modernity, economics played a role in much classic sociological inquiry. The specific term "economic sociology" was first coined by William Stanley Jevons in 1879, later to be used in the works of Émile Durkheim, Max Weber and Georg Simmel between 1890 and 1920.Weber's work regarding the relationship between economics and religion and the cultural "disenchantment" of the modern West is perhaps most iconic of the approach set forth in the classic period of economic sociology.
Contemporary economic sociology may include studies of all modern social aspects of economic phenomena; economic sociology may thus be considered a field in the intersection of economics and sociology. Frequent areas of inquiry in contemporary economic sociology include the social consequences of economic exchanges, the social meanings they involve and the social interactions they facilitate or obstruct.
Economic sociology arose as a new approach to the analysis of economic phenomena; emphasizing particularly the role of economic structures and institutions that play upon society, and the influence a society holds over the nature of economic structures and institutions. The relationship between capitalism and modernity is a salient issue, perhaps best demonstrated in Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) and Simmel's The Philosophy of Money (1900). Economic sociology may be said to have begun with Tocqueville's Democracy in America (1835–40) and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856).Marx's historical materialism would attempt to demonstrate how economic forces influence the structure of society on a fundamental level. Émile Durkheim's The Division of Labour in Society was published in 1922, whilst Max Weber's Economy and Society was released in the same year.
Contemporary economic sociology focuses particularly on the social consequences of economic exchanges, the social meanings they involve and the social interactions they facilitate or obstruct. Influential figures in modern economic sociology include Fred L. Block, James S. Coleman, Paula England, Mark Granovetter, Harrison White, Paul DiMaggio, Joel M. Podolny, Lynette Spillman, Richard Swedberg and Viviana Zelizer in the United States, as well as Carlo Trigilia,Donald Angus MacKenzie, Laurent Thévenot and Jens Beckert in Europe. To this may be added Amitai Etzioni, who has developed the idea of socioeconomics, and Chuck Sabel, Wolfgang Streeck and Michael Mousseau who work in the tradition of political economy/sociology.
The focus on mathematical analysis and utility maximisation during the 20th century has led some to see economics as a discipline moving away from its roots in the social sciences. Many critiques of economics or economic policy begin from the accusation that abstract modelling is missing some key social phenomenon that needs to be addressed.
Economic sociology is an attempt by sociologists to redefine in sociological terms questions traditionally addressed by economists. It is thus also an answer to attempts by economists (such as Gary Becker) to bring economic approaches – in particular utility maximisation and game theory – to the analysis of social situations that are not obviously related to production or trade. Karl Polanyi, in his book The Great Transformation, was the first theorist to propose the idea of "embeddedness", meaning that the economy is "embedded" in social institutions which are vital so that the market does not destroy other aspects of human life. The concept of "embeddedness" serves sociologists who study technological developments. Mark Granovetter and Patrick McGuire mapped the social networks which determined the economics of the electrical industry in the United States. Ronen Shamir analyzed how electrification in Mandatory Palestine facilitated the creation of an ethnic-based dual-economy. Polanyi's form of market skepticism, however, has been criticized for intensifying rather than limiting the economization of society.
A contemporary period of economic sociology, often known as new economic sociology, was consolidated by the 1985 work of Mark Granovetter titled "Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness".These works elaborated the concept of embeddedness, which states that economic relations between individuals or firms take place within existing social relations (and are thus structured by these relations as well as the greater social structures of which those relations are a part). Social network analysis has been the primary methodology for studying this phenomenon. Granovetter's theory of the strength of weak ties and Ronald Burt's concept of structural holes are two best known theoretical contributions of this field.
Modern Marxist thought has focused on the social implications of capitalism (or "commodity fetishism") and economic development within the system of economic relations that produce them. Important theorists include Georg Lukács, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Guy Debord, Louis Althusser, Nicos Poulantzas, Ralph Miliband, Jürgen Habermas, Raymond Williams, Fredric Jameson, Antonio Negri, and Stuart Hall.
Economic sociology is sometimes synonymous with socioeconomics. Socioeconomics deals with the analytical, political and moral questions arising at the intersection between economy and society from a broad interdisciplinary perspective with links beyond sociology to political economy, moral philosophy, institutional economics and history.
The Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) is an international academic association whose members are involved in social studies of economy and economic processes.The Socio-Economic Review was established as the official journal of SASE in 2003. The journal aims to encourage work on the relationship between society, economy, institutions and markets, moral commitments and the rational pursuit of self-interest. Most articles focus on economic action in its social and historical context, drawing from sociology, political science, economics and the management and policy sciences. According to the Journal Citation Reports , the journal has a 2015 impact factor of 1.926, ranking it 56th out of 344 journals in the category "Economics", 21st out of 163 journals in the category "Political Science" and 19th out of 142 journals in the category "Sociology".
The American Sociological Association's Economic Sociology section became a permanent Section in January 2001. According to its website, it has about 800 members.
Another group of scholars in this area works as Research Committee in Economy and Society (RC02) within the International Sociological Association.
Economic Sociology and Political Economy (ES/PE), founded in 2011, is an online scholarly society that gathers researchers interested in economic sociology and related topics.
Maximilian Karl Emil Weber was a German sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economist regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of modern Western society. His ideas profoundly influence social theory and research. Despite being recognized as one of the fathers of sociology along with Auguste Comte, Karl Marx, and Émile Durkheim, Weber saw himself not as a sociologist but as a historian.
Urban sociology is the sociological study of life and human interaction in metropolitan areas. It is a normative discipline of sociology seeking to study the structures, environmental processes, changes and problems of an urban area and by doing so provide inputs for urban planning and policy making. In other words, it is the sociological study of cities and their role in the development of society. Like most areas of sociology, urban sociologists use statistical analysis, observation, social theory, interviews, and other methods to study a range of topics, including migration and demographic trends, economics, poverty, race relations and economic trends. Urban sociology is one of the oldest sub-disciplines of sociology dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.
In the social sciences, social structure is the patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergent from and determinant of the actions of individuals. Likewise, society is believed to be grouped into structurally-related groups or sets of roles, with different functions, meanings, or purposes. Examples of social structure include family, religion, law, economy, and class. It contrasts with "social system", which refers to the parent structure in which these various structures are embedded. Thus, social structures significantly influence larger systems, such as economic systems, legal systems, political systems, cultural systems, etc. Social structure can also be said to be the framework upon which a society is established. It determines the norms and patterns of relations between the various institutions of the society.
Mark Sanford Granovetter is an American sociologist and professor at Stanford University. He is best known for his work in social network theory and in economic sociology, particularly his theory on the spread of information in social networks known as "The Strength of Weak Ties" (1973). Granovetter was recently recognized as a Citation Laureate by Thomson Reuters and added to that organization’s list of predicted Nobel Prize winners in economics for the year 2014. Data from the Web of Science show that Granovetter has written both the first and third most cited sociology articles.
The culture of capitalism or capitalist culture is the set of social practices, social norms, values and patterns of behavior that are attributed to the capitalist economic system in a capitalist society. Capitalist culture promotes the accumulation of capital and the sale of commodities, where individuals are primarily defined by their relationship to business and the market. The culture is composed of people who, behaving according to a set of learned rules, act as they must act in order to survive in capitalist societies.
Neil Joseph Smelser (1930–2017) was an American sociologist who served as professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. He was an active researcher from 1958 to 1994. His research was on collective behavior, sociological theory, economic sociology, sociology of education, social change, and comparative methods. Among many lifetime achievements, Smelser "laid the foundations for economic sociology."
Peter B. Evans is an American academic. He is a Faculty Fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University and Professor of Sociology emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.
Richard Swedberg is a Swedish sociologist. Since 2002 he works at the Department of Sociology at Cornell University.
Harrison Colyar White is the emeritus Giddings Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. White played an influential role in the “Harvard Revolution” in social networks and the New York School of relational sociology. He is credited with the development of a number of mathematical models of social structure including vacancy chains and blockmodels. He has been a leader of a revolution in sociology that is still in process, using models of social structure that are based on patterns of relations instead of the attributes and attitudes of individuals.
Economics imperialism is the economic analysis of non-economic aspects of life, such as crime, law, the family, prejudice, tastes, irrational behavior, politics, sociology, culture, religion, war, science, and research. Related usage of the term goes back as far as the 1930s.
Victor G. Nee is an American sociologist and professor at Cornell University, known for his work in economic sociology, inequality and immigration. He published a book with Richard Alba entitled Remaking the American Mainstream proposing a neo-assimilation theory to explain the assimilation of post-1965 immigrant minorities and the second generation. In 2012, he published Capitalism from Below co-authored with Sonja Opper examining the rise of economic institutions of capitalism in China. Nee is the Frank and Rosa Rhodes Professor, and Director of the Center for the Study of Economy and Society at Cornell University. Nee received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007, and has been a visiting fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York ( 1994–1995), and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1996-1997). He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Economics by Lund University in Sweden in 2013.
Historical Sociology is an interdisciplinary field of research that combines sociological and historical perspectives/ methods to understand the past, how societies have developed over time, and the impact this has on the present. Emphasising the need for a mutual line of inquiry of the past and present to understand how discrete historical events fit into wider societal progress and ongoing dilemmas through complementary comparative analysis.
Sociology is a social science that focuses on society, human social behavior, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life. It uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order and social change. While some sociologists conduct research that may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter can range from micro-level analyses of society to macro-level analyses.
In economics, nonmarket forces are those acting on economic factors from outside a market system. They include organizing and correcting factors that provide order to markets and other societal institutions and organizations, as well as forces utilized by price systems other than the free price system.
This bibliography of Sociology is a list of works, organized by subdiscipline, on the subject of sociology. Some of the works are selected from general anthologies of sociology, while other works are selected because they are notable enough to be mentioned in a general history of sociology or one of its subdisciplines.
In economics and economic sociology, embeddedness refers to the degree to which economic activity is constrained by non-economic institutions. The term was created by economic historian Karl Polanyi as part of his substantivist approach. Polanyi argued that in non-market societies there are no pure economic institutions to which formal economic models can be applied. In these cases economic activities such as "provisioning" are "embedded" in non-economic kinship, religious and political institutions. In market societies, in contrast, economic activities have been rationalized, and economic action is "disembedded" from society and able to follow its own distinctive logic, captured in economic modeling. Polanyi's ideas were widely adopted and discussed in anthropology in what has been called the formalist–substantivist debate. Subsequently, the term "embeddedness" was further developed by economic sociologist Mark Granovetter, who argued that even in market societies, economic activity is not as disembedded from society as economic models would suggest.
Jens Beckert is a German sociologist with a strong interest in economic sociology. The author of books on inherited wealth and the social foundations of economic efficiency, he focuses on the role of the economy in society – especially based on studies of markets – as well as organizational sociology, the sociology of inheritance, and sociological theory. He is director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) in Cologne, Germany, and a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Ricardo Abramovay (1953) is a Brazilian sociologist, political scientist and university professor.
Arthur Leonard Stinchcombe (1933–2018) was an American sociologist. Stinchcombe was born on May 16, 1933, in Clare County, Michigan, and attended Central Michigan University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics. He then pursued graduate study in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, earning a doctorate.
Nina Bandelj is a sociologist, social scientist, author, and editor specializing in economic sociology, culture, post-socialist transformations, and globalization. Bandelj examines the social underpinnings of economic processes, has written or edited six books and has more than 60 articles and book chapters to her credit.