An Overview of
Economic sociology represents an interdisciplinary field at the interstice between sociology and economics. In this sense, economic sociology is often considered a no-man's and every-man's land (Schumpeter 1956:134; cf. also Simon 1957), almost a kind of virgin territory (Coleman 1994), placed between economic science and sociology. Economic sociology, especially its neo-Weberian formulation, can be defined as a sociological theory of economic action (Weber 1968:68). As the sociology of economic action (Weber 1968:68), the hallmark of economic sociology is applying a sociological perspective on the economy (Smelser and Swedberg 1994). In doing so, economic sociology conceptualizes economic variables in terms of their sociological categories (Weber 1968:63).
Notably, neo-Weberian economic sociology1 treats economic exchange as a particular form of social action and the market as a set of social relations and rules (i.e., as a social institution or structure “Weber 1968: 635–36”). In this connection, it stipulates that those social-cultural phenomena (viz., institutions, power, rules, values and preferences, rationality, etc.) that economics usually takes as given, constant, or exogenous to the economy are endogenous and feature structural variation from a sociological standpoint (Weber 1968:341). Thus, from a sociological perspective on the economy, economic rationality (viz., maximization of utility, wealth, or profit) is not a parameter, as it is within conventional economics, but a variable subject to variation over historical time and across societies (Granovetter and Swedberg 1992; Martineli and Smelser 1990). In contrast, in neoclassical economics, exogenous phenomena such as tastes (preferences),