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The Handbook of Economic Sociology, Second Edition

The Handbook of Economic Sociology, Second Edition

Neil J. Smelser
Richard Swedberg
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: STU - Student edition
Pages: 748
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  • Book Info
    The Handbook of Economic Sociology, Second Edition
    Book Description:

    The Handbook of Economic Sociology, Second Editionis the most comprehensive and up-to-date treatment of economic sociology available. The first edition, copublished in 1994 by Princeton University Press and the Russell Sage Foundation as a synthesis of the burgeoning field of economic sociology, soon established itself as the definitive presentation of the field, and has been widely read, reviewed, and adopted. Since then, the field of economic sociology has continued to grow by leaps and bounds and to move into new theoretical and empirical territory.

    The second edition, while being as all-embracing in its coverage as the first edition, represents a wholesale revamping. Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg have kept the main overall framework intact, but nearly two-thirds of the chapters are new or have new authors. As in the first edition, they bring together leading sociologists as well as representatives of other social sciences. But the thirty chapters of this volume incorporate many substantial thematic changes and new lines of research--for example, more focus on international and global concerns, chapters on institutional analysis, the transition from socialist economies, organization and networks, and the economic sociology of the ancient world.The Handbook of Economic Sociology, Second Editionis the definitive resource on what continues to be one of the leading edges of sociology and one of its most important interdisciplinary adventures. It is a must read for all faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates doing work in the field.

    A thoroughly revised and updated version of the most comprehensive treatment of economic sociology availableAlmost two-thirds of the chapters are new or have new authorsAuthors include leading sociologists as well as representatives of other social sciencesSubstantial thematic changes and new lines of research, including more focus on international and global concerns, institutional analysis, the transition from socialist economies, and organization and networksThe definitive resource on what continues to be one of the leading edges of sociology and one of its most important interdisciplinary adventuresA must read for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates doing work in the field

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3558-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Part I General Concerns

    • 1 Introducing Economic Sociology
      (pp. 3-25)
      Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg

      As a designated field of inquiry, economic sociology is not much more than a century old, even though its intellectual roots are identifiable in older traditions of philosophical and social thought.¹ During the past quarter-century it has experienced an explosive growth, and now stands as one of the most conspicuous and vital subfields of its parent discipline. In this introduction we first define the field and distinguish it from mainstream economics. Next we trace the classical tradition of economic sociology, as found in the works of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Schumpeter, Polanyi, and Parsons-Smelser. Finally, we cite some more recent developments...

    • 2 Comparative and Historical Approaches to Economic Sociology
      (pp. 26-48)
      Frank Dobbin

      Students of economic behavior have long subscribed to the commonsense view that natural laws govern economic life. In the discipline of economics, the prevailing view is that economic behavior is determined exogenously, by a force outside of society, rather than endogenously, by forces within. Self-interest is that force, and it is exogenous to society because it is inborn—part of human nature. Self-interest guides human behavior toward the most efficient means to particular ends. If economic behavior is instinctual, the reasoning goes, we need to know little about society to predict behavior.

      Sociologists have always found this approach appealing, not...

    • 3 The New Institutionalisms in Economics and Sociology
      (pp. 49-74)
      Victor Nee

      The focus on institutions as a foundational concept in the social sciences has given rise to a variety of new institutionalist approaches. Not since the behavioral revolution of the 1950s has there been so much interest in a cross-disciplinary concept, one that offers a common theme for exchange and debate. The writings of Ronald Coase, Douglass North, and Oliver Williamson on the endogenous emergence and evolution of economic institutions have inspired a broadly based movement in economics. In sociology, neoinstitutionalists—principally John Meyer, Richard Scott, Paul DiMaggio, and Walter Powell—have redirected the study of organizations by analyzing how institutional...

    • 4 Principles of an Economic Anthropology
      (pp. 75-89)
      Pierre Bourdieu

      To break with the dominant paradigm [in economics], we must attempt to construct a realist definition of economic reason as an encounter between dispositions that are socially constituted (in relation to a field) and the structures, themselves socially constituted, of that field. In doing so, we need to take note, within an expanded rationalist vision, of the historicity constitutive of agents and of their space of action.

      Agents, that is to say, in this case firms, create the space, that is to say, the economic field, which exists only through the agents that are found within it and that deform...

    • 5 Behavioral Economics
      (pp. 90-108)
      Roberto Weber and Robyn Dawes

      While research in behavioral economics goes back to at least the middle of the twentieth century (e.g., Herb Simon’s [1955] work on bounded rationality), it is largely in the last decade of the twentieth century that behavioral economics developed from a vague and broad research area pursued by a small number of researchers at an even smaller number of academic institutions to a large, widely recognized subfield within economics. Over the last few years of the century, the standing and acceptance of behavioral economics changed considerably as many economists took notice of behavioral work and began to accept it as...

    • 6 Emotions and the Economy
      (pp. 109-128)
      Mabel Berezin

      “Emotion and economy” describes a relation that social scientists have recently begun to acknowledge and valorize. Outside of various fields of psychology, sociologists and economists often treat emotions as residual categories. It is arguable that the project of modern social science from its European nineteenth-century origins to its contemporary variations defines emotion out of social action in general and economic action in particular. In contrast to other contributions to this volume that discuss more or less established literatures, this chapter suggests plausible analytic frames that reinscribe emotion in social and economic action. Even though strong, let alone competing, paradigms have...

  6. Part II The Economic Core:: Economic Systems, Institutions, and Behavior

    • Section A The Economy in a Macrosociological Perpective

      • 7 The Economic Sociology of the Ancient Mediterranean World
        (pp. 131-159)
        Ian Morris and J. G. Manning

        In this essay we review the economic sociology of the ancient Mediterranean world (roughly 3000 b.c.–a.d. 700). The ancient Mediterranean has held a privileged place in the history of economic sociology. For Marx ([1857–58] 1964), an ancient slave mode of production played a vital part in the development toward capitalism and communism; for Weber ([1921] 1958, [1909] 1976), contrasts between ideal types of ancient Mediterranean and medieval west European societies were important in explaining the capitalist takeoff; for Polanyi (Polanyi, Arensberg, and Pearson 1957), ancient Babylon and Athens were key case studies in redistribution and early markets; and...

      • 8 The Global Economy: Organization, Governance, and Development
        (pp. 160-182)
        Gary Gereffi

        The global economy has changed in very significant ways during the past several decades, and these changes are rooted in how the global economy is organized and governed. These transformations affect not only the flows of goods and services across national borders, but also the implications of these processes for how countries move up (or down) in the international system. The development strategies of countries today are affected to an unprecedented degree by how industries are organized, and this is reflected in a shift in theoretical frameworks from those centered around the legacies and actors of nation-states to a greater...

      • 9 The Political and Economic Sociology of International Economic Arrangements
        (pp. 183-204)
        Neil Fligstein

        The governance (or some would say, the lack of governance) of the global economy is one of the key issues in the fields of international relations, political economy, and comparative politics. So far, little of the “new” economic sociology has taken up this question. The purpose of this chapter is to consider what positive agenda might be carved out for economic sociology in helping to make sense of the expansion and governance of the global economy. The sociology of markets provides us with a theoretical understanding of the institutional underpinnings of markets and the dynamics by which new markets are...

      • 10 Post-Communist Economic Systems
        (pp. 205-230)
        Lawrence P. King and Iván Szelényi

        In the first edition of thisHandbookwe wrote a chapter under the title “The Socialist Economic System.” This chapter can be read as a follow-up to, or a new section of, the previous one since our aim now is to describe the economic systems that have emerged with the sudden collapse (as happened in Eastern Europe) or gradual erosion (as is currently the case in East Asia) of the socialist economic system. The chapter in the first edition was about the emergence of a distinctive social structure and economy that accompanied development under the Soviet model of total state...

    • Section B The Sociology of Economic Institutions and Economic Behavior

      • 11 Markets in Society
        (pp. 233-253)
        Richard Swedberg

        Compared to economic theory, economic sociology has a very short tradition of studying the market, and one that is considerably less known.¹ A small number of attempts have been made to construct a theory of markets—by Max Weber, Harrison White, Neil Fligstein, Pierre Bourdieu, and a few others—and these have neither been fully explored nor very much discussed by economic sociologists themselves. Much work remains to be done before a reasonably complete theory has come into being. In this chapter I will try to pull the different pieces together and add some ideas about the role of interests...

      • 12 The Sociology of Labor Markets and Trade Unions
        (pp. 254-283)
        Wolfgang Streeck

        This chapter deals with the relationship between trade unions and labor markets. It cannot even attempt to offer a comprehensive treatment of either of the two. The first section, “Labor Markets and Trade Unions in Sociological Research and Theory,” takes stock of core concepts and research traditions informing, or potentially informing, an economic sociology perspective on the subject. It is followed by a systematic discussion linking trade unionism to the interaction of supply and demand in different types of labor market, leading to a historically grounded typology of labor markets and trade unions and to an exploration of the relationship...

      • 13 Banking and Financial Markets
        (pp. 284-306)
        Linda Brewster Stearns and Mark S. Mizruchi

        The study of banking and finance is assumed by many social scientists to be the purview of economists. In fact, however, there is a sociological tradition in these areas. Marx ([1894] 1967) and Weber ([1922] 1978) both wrote important works on the topic. Although financial issues received little attention from sociologists for several decades after Weber (see Smelser 1959, 358–77; Lieberson 1961 for exceptions), this neglect has been remedied significantly in recent years. Since the mid-1970s, sociologists have produced an increasing stream of research on banking and finance. Our goal in this chapter is to provide a survey and...

      • 14 Sociology of Work and Occupations
        (pp. 307-330)
        Andrew Abbott

        Economic sociology is said to be “[a] sociological perspective applied to economic phenomena” (Smelser and Swedberg 1994, n. 1). But to what extent is work an “economic phenomenon”? Of course, there are 135 million people in the American paid labor force. But in addition, nearly all American adults do housework on a regular basis, and tens of millions of them take care of children and other relatives. About half of adult Americans do some charity work in a given year, and nearly two-thirds do some home improvement. But other than the wage work, none of this immense effort appears in...

      • 15 Culture and Consumption
        (pp. 331-354)
        Viviana Zelizer

        Strange as it may now seem, during the 1960s many American planners argued that shopping malls could provide solutions to suburban sprawl and urban anomie. Designer and developer Victor Gruen led the chorus, building some of the country’s largest and best-publicized suburban shopping centers. Moreover, he wrote eloquently about their virtues. Speaking especially of the Northland and Eastland centers his company built in the Detroit metropolitan area, Gruen crowed that they had created a new, intense kind of community:

        I remember the surprised faces of my clients when we drove out to a shopping center on a Sunday and found...

      • 16 The Sociology of Money and Credit
        (pp. 355-378)
        Bruce G. Carruthers

        Money characterizes modern economies, but it has been of only intermittent concern to modern sociology. The uneven distribution of money across race, gender, or class has been of central interest to sociologists studying inequality. But money per se seldom preoccupies them. Money functions as the pecuniary “flip side” of market exchange: goods and services go from seller to buyer, while money goes the other way and balances the exchange. Individual transactions join into networks and circuits of exchange that engender parallel flows of money. Money accompanies commodification and the spread of markets. Under capitalism, according to social theorists ranging from...

      • 17 Networks and Economic Life
        (pp. 379-402)
        Laurel Smith-Doerr and Walter W. Powell

        Sociologists and anthropologists have long been concerned with how individuals are linked to one another and how these bonds of affiliation serve as both a lubricant for getting things done and a glue that provides order and meaning to social life. The attention to networks of association, which began in earnest in the 1970s, provided welcome texture and dynamism to portraits of social life. This work stood in stark contrast to the reigning approaches in the social sciences. In contrast to deterministic cultural (oversocialized) accounts, network analysis afforded room for human agency, and in contrast to individualist, atomized (undersocialized) approaches,...

      • 18 The Informal Economy
        (pp. 403-426)
        Alejandro Portes and William Haller

        The set of activities that comprise the informal economy is vast and offers a unique instance of how social forces affect the organization of economic transactions. We describe in the following sections the history of the concept, its changing definitions, and the attempts made to measure it empirically. However, our main aim in this chapter is to highlight the paradoxical character of informal economic activity and the way in which social structures decisively affect its onset and development.

        The phenomenon of the informal economy is both deceivingly simple and extraordinarily complex, trivial in its everyday manifestations and capable of subverting...

    • Section C The Sociology of Firms, Organizations, and Industries

      • 19 Business Groups and Social Organization
        (pp. 429-450)
        Mark Granovetter

        “Business groups” are sets of legally separate firms bound together in persistent formal and/or informal ways. The level of binding is intermediate between, and should be contrasted to, two extremes that are not business groups: sets of firms linked merely by short-term strategic alliances, and those legally consolidated into a single entity. Because business groups dominate the economies of many emerging and developed countries, they are worth considerable attention.¹

        Understanding business groups is a special case of a central problem of modern sociology: what determines the scope of relationships in which individuals and larger social units engage. Microsociology has much...

      • 20 Entrepreneurship
        (pp. 451-477)
        Howard E. Aldrich

        Sociologists have made major contributions toward understanding the conditions under which new organizations are created, as well as proposing which social locations are most likely to spawn their creators. Beginning with Weber’s (1930) analysis of ascetic Protestantism’s contributions to the entrepreneurial spirit, sociologists have offered cultural- and societal-level interpretations of entrepreneurial phenomena. Over the past several decades, with the emergence of entrepreneurship as an academic field, sociological analyses of entrepreneurship have become multifaceted. Today, sociologists conduct multilevel investigations, ranging from the personal networks of individual entrepreneurs to an entire society’s transition from socialism to capitalism.

        Sociological concern for entrepreneurship can...

      • 21 Firms and Environments
        (pp. 478-502)
        Gerald F. Davis

        From its origin as a distinct domain in the 1950s through the late 1980s, organization theory focused primarily on elaborating and testing theories about organizations as discrete social units. In the foundational text for modern organization theory, March and Simon (1958, 4) defined organizations as “assemblages of interacting human beings [that are] the largest [groups] in our society that have anything resembling a central coordinative system. . . . [This] marks off the individual organization as a sociological unit comparable in significance to the individual organism in biology.” In this high-modernist conception,¹ organizations were goal-oriented, boundary-maintaining systems thatcontainedtheir...

  7. Part III Intersections of the Economy

    • 22 The State and the Economy
      (pp. 505-526)
      Fred Block and Peter Evans

      Recent work in economic sociology and related fields has challenged the familiar terms for analyzing the relationship between state and economy that have dominated much of the social science literature since Adam Smith ([1776] 1976).¹ Contemporary scholarship rejects the assumption, traditionally shared by both advocates and critics of market allocation, that state and market are distinct and opposing modes of organizing economic activity (Block 1994; Evans 1995; Fligstein 2001). In this chapter, we intend to extend and develop this alternative perspective and also demonstrate its value in recasting established debates. We will make our case by focusing on three specific...

    • 23 A Sociological Approach to Law and the Economy
      (pp. 527-551)
      Lauren B. Edelman and Robin Stryker

      Ironically, law is “all over,” yet marginal in economic sociology. Despite law’s centrality to classical sociological understandings of the economy (see Smelser and Swedberg, this volume), law is not often a sustained object of inquiry in its own right for “new” economic sociologists. In addition, there has been scant attention to systematizing and critically examining the way economic sociologists have treated law or law’s role in sociological explanations for economic behavior and institutions. We agree with Swedberg (2002, 2) that there is need to develop a “general sociological analysis of the role that law plays in economic life.”

      We work...

    • 24 Welfare States and the Economy
      (pp. 552-574)
      Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens

      The literature on welfare states or, more modestly, systems of social protection, has expanded rapidly over the past few decades. Since the publication of the first edition of this handbook, major progress has been made in three research areas: the relationship between welfare states and production regimes, gendered determinants and outcomes of welfare state regimes, and the distributive outcomes of welfare states. Esping-Andersen ended his chapter in the first edition with a call for an embedded approach to the study of welfare states, for a relational analysis of the welfare state–economy nexus. Two developments have contributed to the advancement...

    • 25 Education and the Economy
      (pp. 575-602)
      Mary C. Brinton

      It has now been over 25 years since Bowles and Gintis published their classicSchooling in Capitalist America(1976). In proposing that the relationship between education and the capitalist economy is best understood through the lens of Marxist analysis, the book engendered a series of far-reaching commentaries and debates. While Bowles and Gintis’s conception of a “correspondence principle” that links social relationships in schools to social relationships in the capitalist workplace may not have been fully embraced by any but the most ardent Marxists, their analysis nevertheless demonstrated the fundamental importance of understanding the relationship between schools and workplaces—between...

    • 26 New Directions in the Study of Religion and Economic Life
      (pp. 603-626)
      Robert Wuthnow

      A generation ago, studies of the relationships between religion and economic life were often framed within a view of modern society that emphasized institutional differentiation and secularization. As a result, studies of economic behavior seldom paid attention to religion, and studies of religion seldom dealt with economic activities (Beckford 1985). In recent years, more borrowing across subdisciplinary lines is evident. Studies of religion incorporate insights from economic sociology about economic preferences, markets, and organizational structure, while research in economic sociology sometimes draws on ideas about ritual and ceremony, symbolism, testimonials, ethnic and religious communities, and sacralization. Beyond these mutual influences,...

    • 27 Gender and Economic Sociology
      (pp. 627-649)
      Paula England and Nancy Folbre

      This chapter concerns the role of gender in the economy, how the conceptual tools of economic sociology help us understand gender in the economy, and how gender studies provide a lens from which to reconsider the boundaries and claims of economic sociology. We start with a discussion of what topics economic sociology covers, arguing that subtle gender bias may have caused us to focus on formal organizations and exclude house-hold behavior and much of even the paid care sector from economic sociology. If we take a broader view of the “economy,” it includes households, the organizations in which people work...

    • 28 The Ethnic Economy
      (pp. 650-677)
      Ivan Light

      Max Weber ([1927] 1981, sec. 6C) briefly addressed the sociology of “alien traders” in comparative economic development. He thus founded what later became known as middleman minority theory (Bonacich 1973). Middleman minorities specialize in trade and commerce in which they have centuries of historical experience. From this experience they have evolved special expertise in commercial entrepreneurship. Examples include the Jews of Europe, Armenians, Gypsies, overseas Chinese, Sikhs in East Africa, the Hausa of Nigeria, and Marwaris and Parsees in India.¹ This substantial literature, reviewed in the first edition of thisHandbook, generally proposes a three-cornered conflict in which colonial elites...

    • 29 Technology and the Economy
      (pp. 678-702)
      Giovanni Dosi, Luigi Orsenigo and Mauro Sylos Labini

      In this chapter we address general properties of technological change and its coevolutionary patterns with the economic and social contexts in which it occurs.

      Of course it would be a futile enterprise to attempt to survey in a single chapter all the facets of the relationships between the “modern Prometheus” (as David Landes puts it) of technological innovation, on the one hand, and economic development, on the other. Rather, we confine ourselves to aspects of such relationships with straightforward bearings on thesocial embeddedness—to use Granovetter’s (1985) fortunate expression—of the process of generation of “useful knowledge” and its...

    • 30 The Economy and the Environment
      (pp. 703-726)
      Allan Schnaiberg

      In many ways, the relationship between “the environment” and “the economy” is straightforward. Nature provides the material support for humans’ lives and their production systems. It also removes the unusable waste products of this production, through human dispersal of societal wastes into ecological systems, with some decomposition/absorption inside these systems.Ecosystems(Odum 1969) are organized and somewhat stable arrangements of nutrients and living species. For many decades, this nurturing role of nature was taken for granted and viewed as unproblematic. But from at least the early part of the twentieth century to the present (Hays 1969; cf. Mumford [1934] 1963),...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 727-728)
  9. Index
    (pp. 729-736)