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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.[ 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 ]
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, philosopher, jurist, and political economist, who is regarded today as one of the most important theorists on the development of modern Western society. As his ideas would profoundly influence social theory and social research, Weber is often cited as among the four founders of sociology, alongside W. E. B. Du Bois, Émile Durkheim, and Karl Marx.
Political economy is the study of production and trade and their relations with law, custom and government; and with the distribution of national income and wealth. As a discipline, political economy originated in moral philosophy, in the 18th century, to explore the administration of states' wealth, with "political" signifying the Greek word polity and "economy" signifying the Greek word "okonomie". The earliest works of political economy are usually attributed to the British scholars Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo, although they were preceded by the work of the French physiocrats, such as François Quesnay (1694–1774) and Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot (1727–1781).
Economic anthropology is a field that attempts to explain human economic behavior in its widest historic, geographic and cultural scope. It is an amalgamation of economics and anthropology.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 modern 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. It also refers to the ways that social and economic factors influence the environment.
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).
Institutional economics focuses on understanding the role of the evolutionary process and the role of institutions in shaping economic behavior. 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."
Peter B. Evans, Professor of Sociology and the Marjorie Meyer Eliaser Professor of International Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, received his BA magna cum laude from Harvard, an MA from Oxford University, and an MA and PhD from Harvard. He is a political sociologist whose work focuses on the comparative political economy of development and globalization. He has published widely on state-society relations, industrial economic development in Brazil and Latin America, civil society, and international development issues. His work is thus also relevant to the international political economy research literature.
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.
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 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.
Sociology is the study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order and social change. Sociology can also be defined as the general science of society. 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 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.
In the People's Republic of China, the study of sociology has been developing steadily since its reestablishment in 1979. Chinese sociology has a strong focus on applied sociology, and has become an important source of information for Chinese policymakers.
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.