Market and Society: Two Theoretical Frameworks

Market and Society: Two Theoretical Frameworks

Market and Society: Two Theoretical Frameworks

Market and Society: Two Theoretical Frameworks

Synopsis

Treating the market as a complex social category, and not just as a purely economic phenomenon, this book presents two frameworks for analyzing the market in relation to society. After presenting first the economic framework and then the sociological framework, the author combines the two and, when feasible and sensible, integrates them. The result is an original and enlightening examination of such subjects as the nature of the market, market laws, equilibrium, and prices.

Excerpt

The following outlines and illustrates two theoretical frameworks for analyzing relations of the market and society: one is economic, the other sociological. The first framework is used within pure economics or economic theory, the second in economic sociology or sociological economics. For the sake of convenience, this work adopts the ancient Greek word catallactics to denote the economic framework for approaching the market, and coins the expression sociologics to designate the sociological. Thus, catallactics and sociologics are used as convenient designations for these two frameworks. In essence, catallactics expresses what can be termed “endogenous market logic, ” that is, “sociologics” exogenous “social structural logics” (Slater and Tonkiss 2001).

The differentia specifica of this book is an attempt at a joint or simultaneous application, comparison, illustration, and, when possible, combination, if not integration, of these two seemingly conflicting (Fligstein 2001) frameworks for approaching the market and society This, in turn, lends to the work an eminently interdisciplinary character. Generally, such a joint application and comparison of the two frameworks allows analyzing the market both as a “closed self-referential” system as done in catallactics (to paraphrase Luhmann) and as a social field or structure (in Bourdieu's terms), thus an integral part of society, as per sociologics. Notably, it permits simultaneously considering the market an economic mechanism a la Walras and a Durkhemian social institution, respectively. This elaborates on the implicit definition (for example, by Schumpeter) of catallactics or pure theoretical economics in terms of approaching markets as economic mechanisms, and of sociologics or economic sociology in terms

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