Redefining Their Boundaries : Conversations with Economists and Sociologists
Author: Richard Swedberg
Pubpsher: Princeton University Press
Category: Business & Economics
The boundary between economics and sociology is presently being redefined--but how, why, and by whom? Richard Swedberg answers these questions in this thought-provoking book of conversations with well-known economists and sociologists. Among the economists interviewed are Gary Becker, Amartya Sen, Kenneth Arrow, and Albert O. Hirschman; the sociologists include Daniel Bell, Harrison White, James Coleman, and Mark Granovetter. The picture that emerges is that economists and sociologists have paid little attention to each other during most of the twentieth century: social problems have been analyzed as if they had no economic dimension and economic problems as if they had no social dimension. Today, however, there is a dialogue between the two fields, as economists take on social topics and as sociologists become interested in rational choice and "new economic sociology." The interviewees describe how they came to challenge the present separation between economics and sociology, what they think of the various proposals to integrate the fields, and how they envision the future. The author summarizes the results of the conversations in the final chapter. The individual interviews also serve as superb introductions to the work of these scholars.
The last fifteen years have witnessed an explosion in the popularity, creativity, and productiveness of economic sociology, an approach that traces its roots back to Max Weber. This important new text offers a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of economic sociology. It also advances the field theoretically by highlighting, in one analysis, the crucial economic roles of both interests and social relations. Richard Swedberg describes the field's critical insights into economic life, giving particular attention to the effects of culture on economic phenomena and the ways that economic actions are embedded in social structures. He examines the full range of economic institutions and explicates the relationship of the economy to politics, law, culture, and gender. Swedberg notes that sociologists too often fail to properly emphasize the role that self-interested behavior plays in economic decisions, while economists frequently underestimate the importance of social relations. Thus, he argues that the next major task for economic sociology is to develop a theoretical and empirical understanding of how interests and social relations work in combination to affect economic action. Written by an author whose name is synonymous with economic sociology, this text constitutes a sorely needed advanced synthesis--and a blueprint for the future of this burgeoning field.
Release on 2006 | by Jens Beckert,Milan Zafirovski
Author: Jens Beckert,Milan Zafirovski
Pubpsher: Psychology Press
Category: Business & Economics
Dealing with the multiple and complex relations between economy and society, this encyclopedia focuses on the impact of social, political, and cultural factors on economic behaviour. It is useful for students and researchers in sociology, economics, political science, and also business, organization, and management studies.
These articles, over thirty in total, reflect the best and latest thought in the exciting field of economic sociology. Beginning with the foundation of Smith, Marx, Engels and Polanyi, the volume gathers some of the best writings by economic sociologists that consider national and world economies as both products and influences of society. Contains over twenty articles by classical and contemporary economic social theorists. Covers important topics on economic action, states, and markets. Includes insightful editorial introductions and further reading suggestions.
This insightful key resource presents the clearest, most comprehensive and wide ranging account of economic sociology to date. Hass presents a critical and sophisticated yet approachable analysis of economic behaviour and phenomena. He makes the insights, claims, and logic of economic sociology interactive and accessible to students, while exposing the realities of today’s complex economic world and the challenges of studying economies and societies. This introductory text: provides a sophisticated yet approachable analysis of economic behaviour and phenomena explores economic structures and change from a global perspective-by using comparisons and data from the United States, Europe, East Asia, Latin America, and post-socialist countries shows how domestic and international economic forces work over time to shape modern economies takes a critical perspective of both economic sociology and economics to establish useful insights presents historical narratives showing the development of today’s economic structures and institutions addresses important economic issues directly impacting on students’ lives—from the more visible (economic inequality and organizations) to the less visible (international economic trends, public policy, post-socialism). Incorporating illustrations, case studies, a glossary, chapter notes, and a comprehensive bibliography, this student-friendly text also puts forward suggestions for further project work by showing the reader areas that require further investigation.
While most people are familiar with The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, few know that during the last decade of his life Max Weber (1864-1920) also tried to develop a new way of analyzing economic phenomena, which he termed "economic sociology." Indeed, this effort occupies the central place in Weber's thought during the years just before his death. Richard Swedberg here offers a critical presentation and the first major study of this fascinating part of Weber's work. Swedberg furthermore discusses similarities and differences between Weber's economic sociology and present-day thinking on the same topic. In addition, the author shows how economic sociology has recently gained greater credibility as economists and sociologists have begun to collaborate in studying problems of organizations, political structures, social problems, and economic culture more generally. Swedberg's book will be sure to further this new cooperation.
As the American economy surged in the 1990s, economic sociology made great strides as well. Economists and sociologists worked across disciplinary boundaries to study the booming market as both a product and a producer of culture, tracing the correlations they saw between economic and social phenomena. In the process, they debated the methodological issues that arose from their interdisciplinary perspectives. The New Economic Sociology provides an overview of these debates and assesses the state of the burgeoning discipline. The contributors summarize economic sociology's accomplishments to date, identifying key theoretical problems and opportunities, and formulating strategies for future research in the field. The book opens with an introduction to the main debates and conceptual approaches in economic sociology. Contributor Neil Fligstein suggests that the current resurgence of interest in economic sociology is due to the way it brings together many sociological subdisciplines including the study of markets, households, labor markets, stratification, networks, and culture. Other contributors examine the role of economic phenomena from a network perspective. Ron Burt, for example, demonstrates how social relationships affect competitive dynamics in the marketplace. A third set of chapters addresses the role of gender in economic sociology. In her chapter, Barbara Reskin rethinks conventional notions about discrimination and points out that the law only covers one type of discrimination, while in recent years social scientists have uncovered other forms of hidden discrimination, which must be addressed as well. The New Economic Sociology also addresses the problem of economic development and change from a sociological perspective. Alejandro Portes and Margarita Mooney elaborate on one of the key emerging concepts in economic sociology, arguing that social capital—as an attribute of communities and regions—can contribute to economic and social well-being by fostering collaboration and entrepreneurship. The contributors concur that economic action must be interpreted through the cultural understandings that lend it stability and meaning. By rendering these often complex debates accessible, The New Economic Sociology makes a significant contribution to this still rapidly developing field, and provides a useful guide for future avenues of research.
The sociological study of economic activity has witnessed a significant resurgence. Recent texts have chronicled economic sociology's nineteenth-century origins while pointing to the importance of context and power in economic life, yet the field lacks a clear understanding of the role that concepts at different levels of abstraction play in its organization. Economic Sociology fills this critical gap by surveying the current state of the field while advancing a framework for further theoretical development. Alejandro Portes examines economic sociology's principal assumptions, key explanatory concepts, and selected research sites. He argues that economic activity is embedded in social and cultural relations, but also that power and the unintended consequences of rational purposive action must be factored in when seeking to explain or predict economic behavior. Drawing upon a wealth of examples, Portes identifies three strategic sites of research--the informal economy, ethnic enclaves, and transnational communities--and he eschews grand narratives in favor of mid-range theories that help us understand specific kinds of social action. The book shows how the meta-assumptions of economic sociology can be transformed, under certain conditions, into testable propositions, and puts forward a theoretical agenda aimed at moving the field out of its present impasse.
This book systematically reconstructs the origins and new advances in economic sociology. By presenting both classical and contemporary theory and research, the volume identifies and describes the continuity between past and present, and the move from economics to economic sociology. Most comprehensive and up-to-date overview available by an internationally renowned, award-winning economic sociologist Systematically reconstructs the origins and new advances in economic sociology Organizes the perspectives and methods of economic sociologists of the classical and contemporary eras, including coverage of modernization, globalization, and the welfare state Provides insights into the social consequences of capitalism in the past and present for students of economic sociology.