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RN09 - Economic Sociology

The Economic Sociology research network is a vibrant community whose objective is to promote the sociological study of the economy in its entirety.

The research network „Economic Sociology” was established in 1995 by Gyorgy Lengyel and Richard Swedberg. Ever since it has been growing to become a vibrant and inclusive platform of the diverse sociological perspectives on the economy. Researchers from within and outside Europe contribute to the study of economic issues from a variety of theoretical and methodological vantage points. Most basically, we share the assumption that the modern economy can be understood as a social structure that has emerged in a long and complex social process. Economic action can be conceived of as being embedded in particular social and cultural contexts. While some of us focus on institutions or social networks as central foundations of economic exchange, others try to decipher the cultural bases of the economy and therefore focus on conventions, practices, and belief systems.

Building on classical sociologists, who focused on the emergence and social implications of modern capitalism – such as Karl Marx, Max Weber, Norbert Elias, and others – today, economic sociologists study a vast field of phenomenon centering around markets, categories, valuation, finance, culture, the political-economy nexus, but also the social foundations of entrepreneurship, social movements on markets, or alternative forms of organizing the economy.

Economic sociology covers not only a wide range of sociological concepts and theories but also of empirical methods providing deep empirical insights into the complexity of economic life.

The research network covers a wide array of research topics such as:

  • Sociological theories and concepts (social capital, embeddedness, convention theory etc.)
  • Network and institutional analyses
  • The emergence, stability and change of markets
  • Social forms and foundations of entrepreneurship
  • The rise and structure of business firms
  • Alternative forms of economic organization
  • Money, finance and society
  • Markets and morality
  • Economic crises and social resilience
  • Economic boundaries and categories
  • Sustainability and corporate social responsibility
  • Markets, innovations and technological change
  • Modes of economic coordination and governance
  • Work and organizational transformations
  • Marketization and financialization

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