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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.
Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is both a historical period, as well as the ensemble of particular socio-cultural norms, attitudes and practices that arose in the wake of the Renaissance—in the "Age of Reason" of 17th-century thought and the 18th-century "Enlightenment". Some commentators consider the era of modernity to have ended by 1930, with World War II in 1945, or the 1980s or 1990s; the following era is called postmodernity. The term "contemporary history" is also used to refer to the post-1945 timeframe, without assigning it to either the modern or postmodern era.
Social stratification is a kind of social differentiation whereby members of society are grouped into socioeconomic strata, based upon their occupation and income, wealth and social status, or derived power. As such, stratification is the relative social position of persons within a social group, category, geographic region, or social unit.
Sociology is the study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction and culture of everyday life using the principles of psychology neuroscience and network science. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order, acceptance, and change or social evolution. 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 ranges from the micro-sociology level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure.
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.
Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
Economic sociology arose as a new approach to the analysis of economic phenomena; emphasizing particularly the role economic structures and institutions 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.
Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investments are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is a book written by Max Weber, a German sociologist, economist, and politician. Begun as a series of essays, the original German text was composed in 1904 and 1905, and was translated into English for the first time by American sociologist Talcott Parsons in 1930. It is considered a founding text in economic sociology and a milestone contribution to sociological thought in general.
The Philosophy of Money (1900) is a book on economic sociology by the German sociologist and social philosopher, Georg Simmel. Probably considered Simmel's greatest work, Simmel saw money as a structuring agent that helps us understand the totality of life.
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.
Fred L. Block is an American sociologist, and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Davis. Block is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading economic and political sociologists. His interests are wide ranging. He has been noted as an influential follower of Karl Polanyi.
James Samuel Coleman was an American sociologist, theorist, and empirical researcher, based chiefly at the University of Chicago. He was elected president of the American Sociological Association. He studied the sociology of education and public policy, and was one of the earliest users of the term "social capital." His Foundations of Social Theory influenced sociological theory. His "The Adolescent Society" (1961) and "Coleman Report" were two of the most cited books in educational sociology. The landmark Coleman Report helped transform educational theory, reshape national education policies, and it influenced public and scholarly opinion regarding the role of schooling in determining equality and productivity in the United States.
Paula S. England, is an American sociologist and Professor at New York University. Her research has focused on gender inequality in the labor market, the family, and sexuality. She has also studied class differences in contraception and nonmarital births.
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.
Within economics the concept of utility is used to model worth or value, but its usage has evolved significantly over time. The term was introduced initially as a measure of pleasure or satisfaction within the theory of utilitarianism by moral philosophers such as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. But the term has been adapted and reapplied within neoclassical economics, which dominates modern economic theory, as a utility function that represents a consumer's preference ordering over a choice set. As such, it is devoid of its original interpretation as a measurement of the pleasure or satisfaction obtained by the consumer from that choice.
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 come up with the idea of the "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.
Gary Stanley Becker was an American economist. He was a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Chicago. Economist Justin Wolfers called him, "the most important social scientist in the past 50 years." Becker was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992 and received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. A 2011 survey of economics professors named Becker their favorite living economist over the age of 60, followed by Ken Arrow and Robert Solow.
Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction in between rational decision-makers. It has applications in all fields of social science, as well as in logic and computer science. Originally, it addressed zero-sum games, in which each participant's gains or losses are exactly balanced by those of the other participants. Today, game theory applies to a wide range of behavioral relations, and is now an umbrella term for the science of logical decision making in humans, animals, and computers.
Karl Paul Polanyi was an Austro-Hungarian economic historian, economic anthropologist, economic sociologist, political economist, historical sociologist and social philosopher. He is known for his opposition to traditional economic thought and for his book, The Great Transformation, which argued that the emergence of market-based societies in modern Europe was not inevitable but historically contingent. Polanyi is remembered today as the originator of substantivism, a cultural approach to economics, which emphasized the way economies are embedded in society and culture. This view ran counter to mainstream economics but is popular in anthropology, economic history, economic sociology and political science.
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.[ citation needed ]
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.[ citation needed ]
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At the turn of the 20th century, ethnic whites tended to migrate to urban enclaves on the East Coast and parts of the Midwest. Mexican immigrants settled along South-west border. Chinese immigrants, prior to the Chinese exclusion act, moved and settled along the Pacific states. The regulation of immigrants ebbed and flowed according to economic demands of the labor market and home country's domestic issues. Examples include availability of mine work, railroad building, and steel production or lack of home country's ability to provide adequate career opportunities, food or security.
Working class and low skilled immigrants tended to cluster in the ethnic enclaves such as Chinatowns, Little Italy's and Koreatowns. This was the result of chain migration, US migration policy, and the placement of availability of jobs.After the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, educated and well skilled immigrant populations did not cluster like their blue collared counterparts. This is particularly true of Indian doctors and Filipino nurses. Both groups have a large population in absolute numbers, but are not as culturally visible.
In general immigrants worked for lower wages, and for longer hours, under less-regulated working conditions in dangerous or unhealthy working conditions. Low wages and minimal oversight have widened corporate profits. This is true even for skilled and educated immigrants. Asians on average tend to make more money than Whites. However, when comparing similar high status jobs, Whites still make more. This may explain continued American economic growth since 1965.
In regards to US migration policy, from a structural functionalist point of view, illegal immigration is tacitly approved by the government and businesses despite surges in nativism starting in the 1980s. As the American population declines, the tax base to support social welfare programs such as Medicare and Social Security shrinks as well. Therefore, government welfare programs are dependent on some level to illegal immigrants who pay into the benefits, but will not receive them in their lifetimes. Further, both their legal and illegal children maintain a positive birth to death ratio, with more individuals living in America paying taxes than those dying. Illegal immigrants and their children play a fundamental role in maintaining government revenues. However, with a functionalist interpretation, it is in the government's best interest to keep these populations suppressed. This is where the interest of government and business intersect: If the undocumented workers were to be documented, employers would be forced to increase wages and the states would offer government assistance. With the fear of deportation after a lengthy detainment from the government and cases of harassment, abuse, rape and intimidation by employers, many illegal immigrants remain quiet about their plight. The second generation immigrants typically display reactive ethnic identities in response to the suppression and abuse their parents faced, further straining already strained race relations in America.
Nonetheless, due to the diffused structure of the US government and nativist sentiments, mass incarcerations and deportations are on the uptick in America. This has proven to be disastrous to local economies. In the Postville Raid of 2008, 400 men, women and children were detained by ICE, one third of the town's population. This immediately resulted in the closing of a local food processing plant and immediate decrease in local economic demand. It is estimated that within a radius of twenty miles, 2,800 other jobs were lost – drivers, coffee shop owners and alike – and millions of dollars of lost.The city of Postville asked the Federal government to declare its city as 'disaster zone' given the immediate drop in economic activity. The deportation of undocumented workers had secondary effects for the immigrants' families in their native countries, whose poverty was worsened when the detained individuals could not send remittances. There is a reported case of teenage suicide when the boy had not heard from his father in months.
Some corners sociological debate today focuses on new immigrants' ability to find employment and to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
According to George Borjas in an essay titled "The Economics of Immigration" (1994), since the 1980s the United States has attracted "lower quality" immigrants with less education and few marketable job skills. Borjas' estimates show that as high as 21 percent of immigrant households participate in social assistance programs consisting of social welfare programs like food stamps and Medicaid. Additionally, economic assimilation is slow due to immigrant's difficulty in securing adequate employment.
Julian Simon, in addition to other economists and policy analysts, claims that recent immigration has either had a positive or neutral effect on the economy. Simon argues that immigrants and their children add to the labor force, paying into long-term benefits such as Social Security.
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.
Joseph Aloïs Schumpeter was an Austrian political economist. Born in Moravia, he briefly served as Finance Minister of Austria in 1919. In 1932, he became a professor at Harvard University where he remained until the end of his career, eventually obtaining U.S. citizenship.
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.
Economic anthropology is a field that attempts to explain human economic behavior in its widest historic, geographic and cultural scope. It is practiced by anthropologists and has a complex relationship with the discipline of economics, of which it is highly critical. Its origins as a sub-field of anthropology began with work by the Polish founder of anthropology Bronislaw Malinowski and the French Marcel Mauss on the nature of reciprocity as an alternative to market exchange. For the most part, studies in economic anthropology focus on exchange. In contrast, the Marxian school known as "political economy" focuses on production.
Socioeconomics is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how societies progress, stagnate, or regress because of their local or regional economy, or the global economy. Societies are divided into 3 groups: social, cultural and economic.
The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (1899), by Thorstein Veblen, is a treatise on economics and a detailed, social critique of conspicuous consumption, as a function of social class and of consumerism, derived from the social stratification of people and the division of labour, which are the social institutions of the feudal period that have continued to the modern era.
Mark Sanford Granovetter is an American sociologist and professor at Stanford University. 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. 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).
In sociology, an ethnic enclave is a geographic area with high ethnic concentration, characteristic cultural identity, and economic activity. The term is usually used to refer to either a residential area or a workspace with a high concentration of ethnic firms. Their success and growth depends on self-sufficiency, and is coupled with economic prosperity.
Institutional economics focuses on understanding the role of the evolutionary process and the role of institutions in shaping economic behaviour. Its original focus lay in Thorstein Veblen's instinct-oriented dichotomy between technology on the one side and the "ceremonial" sphere of society on the other. Its name and core elements trace back to a 1919 American Economic Review article by Walton H. Hamilton. Institutional economics emphasizes a broader study of institutions and views markets as a result of the complex interaction of these various institutions. The earlier tradition continues today as a leading heterodox approach to economics.
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."
A market is one of the many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers. It can be said that a market is the process by which the prices of goods and services are established. Markets facilitate trade and enable the distribution and resource allocation in a society. Markets allow any trade-able item to be evaluated and priced. A market emerges more or less spontaneously or may be constructed deliberately by human interaction in order to enable the exchange of rights of services and goods. Markets generally supplant gift economies and are often held in place through rules and customs, such as a booth fee, competitive pricing, and source of goods for sale.
Richard Swedberg is a Swedish sociologist. Since 2002 he works at the Department of Sociology at Cornell University.
Immigration is the international movement of people into a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship in order to settle or reside there, especially as permanent residents or naturalized citizens, or to take up employment as a migrant worker or temporarily as a foreign worker.
James Douglas Montgomery is professor of sociology and economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has applied game-theoretic models and non-monotonic logic to present formal analysis and description of social theories and sociological phenomena. He was the recipient of James Coleman Award (1999) for his paper “Toward a Role-Theoretic Conception of Embeddedness”. His paper is a major contribution towards formalization of social theories and sociological interpretation of game theories since he presents a repeated-game model in which the players are not individuals but assume social roles such as a profit-maximizing "businessperson" and nonstrategic "friend".
The sociology of immigration involves the sociological analysis of immigration, particularly with respect to race and ethnicity, social structure, and political policy. Important concepts include assimilation, enculturation, marginalization, multiculturalism, postcolonialism, transnationalism and social cohesion.
Economics imperialism in contemporary economics is the economic analysis of seemingly 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 known for his work in economic sociology. He 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.
In economics, nonmarket forces are those acting on economic factors from outside the market system. They include organizing and correcting factors that provide order to market and other societal institutions and organizations – economic, political, social and cultural – so that they may function efficiently and effectively as well as repair their failures.
A social network is a social structure made up of a set of social actors, sets of dyadic ties, and other social interactions between actors. The social network perspective provides a set of methods for analyzing the structure of whole social entities as well as a variety of theories explaining the patterns observed in these structures. The study of these structures uses social network analysis to identify local and global patterns, locate influential entities, and examine network dynamics.
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.