Early-Phase Market Organizing in Subsistence Settings

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Title: Early-Phase Market Organizing in Subsistence Settings
Author: Lindeman, Sara
Contributor: Hanken School of Economics, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Belongs to series: Economics and Society – 320
ISSN: 0424-7256 (printed)
2242-699X (PDF)
ISBN: 978-952-232-359-0 (printed)
978-952-232-360-6 (PDF)
Abstract: This thesis studies early-phase market organizing. Contrary to dominant views of markets as neutral backgrounds to economic activity, in this work markets are understood as socio-material systems that are shaped by the actors involved in the organizing process. In affluent settings, such as Europe, market organizing processes have been going on for centuries. To ethnographically study the very early phases of market organizing, the empirical work is performed in subsistence settings, i.e. resource-constrained areas currently served by the informal economy. The empirical data were collected in informal urban settlements and remote rural areas in Tanzania, Brazil, Ethiopia and India. The purpose of this thesis is to study early-phase market organizing in subsistence settings and its implications on capabilities for achieving well-being. Based on the capability approach, the thesis takes a holistic and multi-level approach to well-being. An improved understanding of early-phase market organizing processes, studied in settings not strictly conditioned by the path taken in affluent economies, can open up possibilities to see and encourage alternative and more sustainable ways of market organizing. The research shows that market organizing begins when an augmented discussion starts around trade exchanges. This discussion includes creating rules and norms to discipline exchanges as well as ways of representing the exchanges. Values guide this discussion, and participating in it requires that actors engage in new practices and often also that they form new organizational entities. In addition, early phase market organizing is characterized by a mobilization of various resources that improve market actors’ abilities to act in and shape markets. In the empirical cases, intermediary organizations, such as local NGO’s, were instrumental in empowering subsistence communities so that they could actively take part in the market organizing process. The dominant debate suggests that individuals will benefit from markets by getting employment and access to improved products and services. However, this thesis shows that when local communities organize themselves and are empowered to actively participate in the market organizing process, this results in market arrangements that better deliver capabilities for achieving well-being.
URI: https://helda.helsinki.fi/dhanken/handle/123456789/173946
Date: 2018-01-19
Subject: market organizing
inclusive business
capability approach

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