Browsing by Subject "economic sociology"

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  • Gronow, Jukka (Helsinki University Press, 2020)
    Jukka Gronow’s book Deciphering Markets and Money solves the problem of the specific social conditions of an economic order based on money and the equal exchange of commodities. Gronow scrutinizes the relation of sociology to neoclassical economics and reflects on how sociology can contribute to the analyses of the major economic institutions. The question of the comparability and commensuration of economic objects runs through the chapters of the book. The author shows that due to the multidimensionality and principal quality uncertainty of products, markets would collapse without market devices that are either procedural, consisting of technical standards and measuring instruments, or aesthetic, relying on the judgements of taste, or both. In his book, Gronow demonstrates that in this respect, financial markets share the same problem as the markets of wines, movies, or PCs and mobile phones, and hence offer a highly actual case to study their social constitution in the process of coming into being. Jukka Gronow is professor emeritus of sociology at Uppsala University, Sweden, and docent at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has published on sociology of consumption, history of sociology and social theory.
  • Frerichs, Sabine (2011)
    Economic bestsellers like Freakonomics and Nudge that mainly address outsiders of the economic discipline are also consumed by lawyers. The latter has already become an important reference in the field of consumer law and policy. In principle, this is nothing to complain about but part of law’s encounter with science, namely the social sciences. Notably, the law and economics movement proved successful in importing economic perspectives into legal discourse. However, it would seem questionable if the law followed each trend on the academic book market. While there has been an increasing emphasis on economic perspectives at the expense of sociological perspectives within the field of law, economy, and society, a major shift can now also be observed in the field of law and economics. With the behavioural turn in law and economics, homo oeconomicus seems to be transformed into Homer Economicus, and consumer law prone to be Simpsonized. In this paper, the turn from neoclassical law and economics to behavioural law and economics will be analyzed from a third, namely sociological perspective: the economic sociology of law. In this framework, it is possible to compare and confront the ‘old’ homo oeconomicus rationalis and the ‘new’ homo oeconomicus behavioralis with a third model – homo oeconomicus culturalis – which demonstrates the limits of the previous models, not least with regard to explaining the recent financial crisis. While governance by nudges might look, at first sight, as a tempting idea, I will question the normative side of this project and emphasize its possible effects on our legal culture and, thereby, our human condition.
  • Frerichs, Sabine (Routledge, 2012)
  • Frerichs, Sabine (Hart publishing, 2014)
  • Frerichs, Sabine (Hart publishing, 2011)
    International Studies in the Theory of Private Law
    This paper forms part of the edited volume “Karl Polanyi, Globalisation and the Potential of Law in Transnational Markets” (Joerges and Falke 2011). Drawing on Polanyi’s “The Great Transformation” ‑ a study of the ‘utopian experiment’ of the market society which ended in the two world wars – I argue for an ‘economic sociology of law’ à la Polanyi, which builds on his macro-sociological insights and brings together the viewpoints of economic and legal sociology. Considering the present revival of Polanyi’s work ‑ or at least, the frequency of references to his work in the view of present crises ‑ the paper disputes the emblematic claim that ‘we are all Polanyians now’. In order to do so, it contrasts Polanyian perspectives with ‘Granovetterian’ perspectives on the one hand (part one), and with ‘Hayekian’ perspectives on the other hand (part two). It thus clarifies Polanyi’s position within sociology, notably distinguishing between ‘old’ and ‘new’ economic sociology, and also with regard to (mainstream) economics, including the subfield of law and economics broadly understood. Part one argues for a multi-level approach to embeddedness (including micro-, meso-, macro-, and meta-levels), which helps to distinguish between different research agendas in economic sociology. A (neo-)Polanyian research agenda would thus be characterized by an emphasis on macro- and meta-levels of (normative and cognitive) embeddedness, or what is referred to as regimes and rationalities. Part two compares a Polanyian understanding of the economic sociology of law with (neo-liberal) economic constitutionalism: an integrated, positive as well as normative approach to law and the economy, which was notably advocated for by Polanyi’s contemporary von Hayek. Against this background, it is argued that today’s market society is not least embedded in neoliberal economic theory, which also forwards a certain understanding of the law.
  • Frerichs, Sabine (2016)
    International economic law is dominated by ‘international law’ and ‘economic law’ perspectives. Socio-legal perspectives do gain ground at the margins of the field, but a sociology of international economic law, which addresses not only the subject matter but also the disciplinary dynamics of the field, has so far been missing. Drawing on Polanyi’s The Great Transformation and recent work in the economic sociology of law, this article puts the ‘law of market society’ centre stage in developing a genuine sociology of international economic law. This includes a sociology of law and economics, which exposes how the discipline (power structure) of international economic law is articulated with the discipline (knowledge structure) of law and economics. The law of market society includes all types of law that constitute or regulate the market, be it public or private law, national, international or even transnational law. Taking off from Polanyian ideas, law is conceived as a social institution ‘embedding’ the economy, but also as a ‘fictitious commodity’ which is itself subject to market forces. The tension between law’s commodifying and decommodifying functions, which these concepts illuminate, is reflected in legal discourse. Moreover, it seems to drive ‘law’s great transformation’ from its universalist origins in the nineteenth century to its national closings in the twentieth century, and to its transnational openings in the twenty-first century. In this sense, the law of market society follows itself a ‘double movement’.