Sociology Economic Sociology
by
Frederick Wherry, Nicholas Occhiuto
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 February 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0015

Introduction

Economic sociology is the study of the relationship between society and the market. The field incorporates insights from economics, behavioral psychology, economic anthropology, and cultural anthropology. Structural and cultural approaches largely characterize the studies conducted in the field, with the former associated with networks, institutions, and social organization; the latter, rituals, symbols, cognitive frameworks, and narratives. Economic sociologists study how social networks and relationships affect economic actions, such as the provision of loans, the acquisition of a job, and the successful construction of deals. Empirical studies examine how prices are set, why some pricing schemes that do not seem rational are instead understandable and predictable, and how markets are incorporated into social life, and vice versa.

Handbooks and Collections

There is one encyclopedia and one handbook on economic sociology that provide the widest coverage of the field. Beckert and Zafirovski 2005 is notable for the number of European scholars it includes while Smelser and Swedberg 2005 largely relies on works by scholars in the United States. The other collections (such as Dobbin 2004 and Granovetter and Swedberg 2001) are squarely within the field of economic sociology, offering overviews by topical areas. DiMaggio and Powell 1991 provides institutional analysis of organizations and is used by both economic sociologists and sociologists of organizations, and it offers a strong Weberian flavor for why organizations take the forms that they do. Zelizer 2010 brings in the sometimes-neglected topics of gender, intimacy, culture, and households, while Portes 2010 examines national development, informal economies, culture, class, and immigration as central to the field of economic sociology. Swedberg 2005 offers an intellectual history of the key thinkers in the field.

  • Beckert, Jens, and Milan Zafirovski, eds. 2005. International encyclopedia of economic sociology. London: Routledge.

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    This encyclopedia is written for a general audience. It includes topics studied by economic sociologists as well as economic phenomena studied by social scientists who may or may not consider themselves to be economic sociologists. More than 160 social scientists have contributed to the 250 entries in this encyclopedia. Each entry includes basic concepts and key debates.

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    • DiMaggio, Paul, and Walter W. Powell, eds. 1991. The new institutionalism in organizational analysis. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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      DiMaggio and Powell offer a collection with case studies ranging across a variety of organizational forms. They note the conditions under which organizations resemble one another, identifying three forms of isomorphism (mimetic, coercive, and normative). This volume is considered a core contribution on institutional analysis.

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      • Dobbin, Frank, ed. 2004. The new economic sociology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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        Dobbin’s introduction to this collection (of twenty-one chapters from about twenty-seven authors) differentiates four approaches to economic sociology. Institutions refer to codified conventions and routines; networks, the roles people play and the location of those roles; power, the capacity to make others see problems and solutions in the way one wishes; and cognition, the way individuals “see” the world.

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        • Granovetter, Mark, and Richard Swedberg, eds. 2001. The sociology of economic life. 2d ed. Boulder, CO: Westview.

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          The volume includes an introduction by the editors about the history of economic sociology as a field and its core theoretical concepts. The volume includes foundational readings, a section on the sociology of markets, a section on firms and industries, and another on comparative and historical approaches to studying markets and the economy.

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          • Portes, Alejandro. 2010. Economic sociology: A systematic inquiry. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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            Portes integrates a variety of topics using a common framework. The topics covered include social capital, culture and economic development, institutions, social class, ethnic entrepreneurship, and transnational immigration. Portes’s inquiry focuses on middle range theories, explanations of the mechanisms making markets and economic action possible, and the use of strategic research materials that clearly render otherwise murky social processes.

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            • Smelser, Neil J., and Richard Swedberg, eds. 2005. The handbook of economic sociology. 2d ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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              The handbook is the most comprehensive collection of readings on economic sociology. It opens with the general concerns in the field. Part 2 reviews economic systems, institutions, and sociological approaches to economic behavior. Part 3 includes studies of the state and economy, law and the economy and education, religion, gender, ethnic economies, and the environment.

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              • Swedberg, Richard. 2005. The principles of economic sociology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                The opening chapters focus on Weber, Durkheim, and Simmel as well as De Tocqueville and Bourdieu (discussed less frequently in other volumes). The book then reviews how economic organization varies and with what consequences, how sociologists study firms and markets, how politics, culture, and gender matter in markets, and how interests need to be more thoroughly theorized.

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                • Zelizer, Viviana. 2010. Economic lives: How culture shapes the economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                  This comprehensive book systematically establishes the Zelizer view on the economy and economic processes. The volume begins with valuation in life insurance and then moves to the social meaning of money, the intermingling of money and intimacy, caring relations, circuits of commerce, and relational work. The volume gathers the widely dispersed writings into one place with clarifying summaries.

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                  Classic Works

                  The field’s theoretical antecedents include Weber 1978, Durkheim 1984, Marx and Engels 1978, and Polanyi 2001. Weber 1978 defines four types of action: actions arising from ingrained habits or from convention; actions resulting as emotional responses to particular stimuli; actions performed in the pursuit of individual ends (zweckrational); and actions performed in pursuit of transcendental values (wertrational). These forms of actions complicate the picture of economic persons whose actions are practically oriented toward a web of relationships rather than toward the narrow pursuit of minimizing costs and maximizing economic profits. Weber also provides a comparative analysis of different ways to organize economic action across time and across societies; moreover, Weber 1998 argues that collective ideas influence economic behavior, making capitalism’s rise more likely in some cultural environments than in others. Polanyi 2001 argues that the market is an instituted process rather than a naturally occurring phenomenon, and Durkheim 1984, in drawing attention to the noncontractual elements of the contract, to the increasing division of labor in society, and to the role of rituals in maintaining solidarity, also animates studies in economic sociology. Finally, Marx and Engels 1978, a study on capital, invites social scientists to go beyond the surface manifestations of the economy to examine the relations of production, the creation and capture of labor value, and the unequal distributions of power over the production and distribution of goods and the economic value their sales (and the labor power producing them) generate.

                  • Durkheim, Émile. 1984. The division of labor in society. New York: Free Press.

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                    Durkheim argues that an individual’s actions could not be understood in a vacuum. From one country to the next, and one set of religious and political systems to the next, there would be a shared set of understandings making sense of how work and production processes ought to be organized. Some of these shared understandings could be dysfunctional and negatively consequential. Originally published in 1893.

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                    • Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1978. The Marx-Engels reader. Translated and compiled by Robert Tucker. New York: Norton.

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                      The articles collected in this volume were originally published between 1844 and 1883. Marx’s labor theory of value and his analyses of exploitation have inspired studies of labor and capital flows globally and brought analytical focus to alienation and the capture of surplus labor power. Marxist analyses inform dependency and world-systems’ approaches to national economic development.

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                      • Polanyi, Karl. 2001. The great transformation. Boston: Beacon.

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                        Polanyi emphasizes the social and political transformations that led to the establishment of modern markets, and he makes the case for studying the historical contingencies in market formations as a bulwark against idealized, fictional accounts of how and why markets “naturally” form. The first edition was published in 1944.

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                        • Weber, Max. 1978. Economy and society. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                          Weber’s magnum opus, published posthumously. Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich took responsibility for its introduction to the English-reading academy. The sections most relevant for economic sociologists include “Basic Sociological Terms” (pp. 3–26), “Sources of Order” (pp. 31–33), and “The Types of Legitimate Domination” (pp. 212–301). The first edition was published in 1922.

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                          • Weber, Max. 1998. The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. 2d ed. Los Angeles: Roxbury.

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                            Weber examines how cultural beliefs, religious affiliation, and the practices associated with those beliefs and affiliations affect savings and investment decisions. As individuals sought otherworldly goals, they wanted to succeed economically to demonstrate they had God’s favor, but they did not want to ostentatiously display their wealth; so they engaged in savings and investment. Originally published in 1904.

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                            Embeddedness

                            Social scientists writing under the umbrella of embeddedness have emphasized the roles of social capital, networks, and institutions as well as the impact of culture on economic organization. Granovetter coined the term embeddedness in an oft-cited American Journal of Sociology article (Granovetter 1985). This umbrella concept contextualizes economic behavior by acknowledging that social networks, the institutions enforcing contracts and facilitating the distribution of goods and services, and the political conflicts over economic change all shape how economic change happens. In other words, economic action is embedded, or enmeshed, in social, cultural, and political webs of affiliation and conflict. Granovetter takes his lead from The Great Transformation, in which Karl Polanyi writes: “Man’s economy, as a rule, is submerged in his social relationships. He does not act as to safeguard his individual interest in the possession of material goods; he acts so as to safeguard his social standing, his social claims, his social assets” (Polanyi in 1957, p. 46). Krippner and Alvarez 2007 challenges Granovetter’s concept of embeddedness to incorporate a more institutional line of inquiry and to more fruitfully utilize Polanyi’s conceptual apparatus. Barber 1995 challenges the key assumptions economists have about how markets work. Uzzi 1999 demonstrates how social ties help us better understand behaviors in banks that have tangible financial consequences.

                            • Barber, Bernard. 1995. All economies are “embedded”: The career of a concept and beyond. Social Research 62.2: 388–433.

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                              Barber reviews the concept of embeddedness and notes that Polanyi makes the mistake of disembedding the market and arguing that some types of exchange are more embedded than others. The ideology of the market and its rational-choice offspring have become ideology, with other partial concepts acting as utopia.

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                              • Granovetter, Mark. 1985. Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology 91:481–510.

                                DOI: 10.1086/228311Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                Granovetter offers a new program for studying economic action, paying attention to the social, political, institutional, and cultural contexts that facilitate and constrain action. Granovetter argues against an oversocialized version of human beings that looks only at large-scale factors that predict economic outcomes, treating people like robots. He also argues against undersocialized versions that see markets moving as if by natural laws.

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                                • Krippner, Greta, and Anthony S. Alvarez. 2007. Embeddedness and the intellectual projects of economic sociology. Annual Review of Sociology 33:219–240.

                                  DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.33.040406.131647Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  The authors critically analyzed the concept of embeddedness and discerned two distinct research trajectories (and theoretical axes) between them. One version of embeddedness they note is relational and closest to Granovetter’s conceptual project (emphasizing networks and social ties). Another version, however, develops from a Polanyian tradition that emphasizes institutions and larger social systems.

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                                  • Sorenson, Olan, and David Waguespack. 2006. Social structure and exchange: Self-confirming dynamics in Hollywood. Administrative Science Quarterly 51.4: 560–589.

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                                    The authors examine the effects of prior relationships between film producers and distributors on the box office performance of feature films. Drawing on data on the US film industry from 1982 to 2001, the authors find that film distributors allocate more resources, approve larger production budgets, market more heavily, and schedule more attractive release dates to the films produced by those with whom they have had prior interactions, which leads to greater box office performance — producing a self-confirming dynamic. Once one controls for the effects of marketing and release dates, however, the authors find that those films actually perform worse at the box office.

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                                    • Uzzi, Brian. 1996. The sources and consequences of embeddedness for the economic performance of organizations: The network effect. American Sociological Review 61.4: 674–698.

                                      DOI: 10.2307/2096399Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      The author advances the concept of embeddedness by empirically examining how social ties affect economic outcomes. Through an ethnography of twenty-three apparel firms and an analysis of network ties in the New York apparel economy, he finds that embeddedness promotes economic performance through inter-firm resource pooling, cooperation, and coordinated adaptation, which leads to the higher survival chances of embedded organizations. The positive effect of embeddedness reaches a threshold, however, after which point the positive effect reverses itself.

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                                      • Uzzi, Brian. 1999. Embeddedness in the making of financial capital: How social relations and networks benefit firms seeking financing. American Sociological Review 64:481–505.

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                                        Uzzi uses a random sample of 1,875 corporations and 1,529 partnerships/sole-proprietorships in 1989 and asks whether social relationships with bank managers affect whether businesses receive loans and, if so, under what terms. Type or duration of ties do not affect whether a firm acquires a loan. However, social attachments can lead to lower costs of financing from the banks.

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                                        Social Capital

                                        Bourdieu 1986 argues that there are many forms of capital beyond its economic form (money); for example, social capital comes from one’s social relationships and is the capacity to mobilize otherwise dormant resources by virtue of one’s social ties; cultural capital from externally recognized, embodied knowledge; human capital from educational credentials and work experience; and symbolic capital from the meaningful icons and collective narratives that give its wielder the power to inspire deference in others. Under the right conditions one form of capital can be converted into another. Social and human capital have been the focus of economic development efforts and have generated volumes of research reports at such institutions as the World Bank, inquiring why some nations, regions, communities, or individuals succeed while others fail. Portes and Sensenbrenner 1993 demonstrates how social capital accounts for the success (or failure) of immigrants in the United States and ethnic entrepreneurs in cities. Burt 1998 shows how social capital accounts for the promotions of managers in large corporations and how women happen to occupy less advantageous network positions, accounting for their slower rates of promotion. Coleman 1993 introduces Bourdieu’s concept of social capital to American sociology, but it is Putnam 1993 that offers a celebrated account of social capital and civic life that has become recognized by people outside of the social sciences. Portes 1998 offers a strident critique of Putnam and others for not recognizing the downsides of social capital, namely its potential to be used to for noncivic, noncommunal goals.

                                        • Bourdieu, Pierre 1986. The forms of capital. In Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education. Edited by John G. Richardson, 241–258. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

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                                          Bourdieu developed the notion that capital comes in a number of different forms: economic capital is the money in one’s bank account; human capital is the knowledge and work experience in one’s head; cultural capital is knowing what is not explicitly and formally taught; and social capital inheres in one’s social relationships.

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                                          • Burt, Ronald. 1998. The gender of social capital. Rationality and Society 10:5–46.

                                            DOI: 10.1177/104346398010001001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            Burt argues that network configurations within firms grant some individuals with fewer constraints more power, as these individuals occupy structural holes that allow them to bridge nonredundant resources (social capital). Women tend to not do as well in terms of promotion because they occupy less advantageous positions within networks and are in flatter network structures.

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                                            • Coleman, James S. 1993. Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology 94:95–121.

                                              DOI: 10.1086/228943Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              Coleman defines social capital by its functions: (1) obligations, expectations, and trustworthiness or structures; (2) information channels; and (3) norms and effective sanctions. He notes that social capital in Catholic schools is due to network closure, and it allows for greater monitoring and sanctioning of students. And children who move residences frequently have less social closure.

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                                              • Granovetter, Mark S. 1973. The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology 78.6: 1360–1380.

                                                DOI: 10.1086/225469Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                The author examines how interaction in small groups aggregates to form large-scale patterns, and how those large-scale patterns, in turn, feed back into small groups. The author argues that weak ties play an integral role in processes of diffusion, mobility, community organization, and social cohesion. Weak ties, he contends, are indispensable to individuals’ opportunities and their integration into communities, because they are more likely to link members of different small groups than strong ties, which tend to be concentrated within particular groups, and lead to overall social fragmentation.

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                                                • O’Brien, Rourke L. 2012. Depleting capital? Race, wealth and informal financial assistance. Social Forces 91.2: 375–396.

                                                  DOI: 10.1093/sf/sos132Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  The author empirically develops the concept of “negative social capital”—or, rather, the pressure felt by an individual to incur costs by virtue of his or her membership in a group. Drawing on data from the Survey of Consumer Finances and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the author finds that middle- and upper-income blacks are more likely to provide informal financial assistance to those in their social network than their white counterparts. The author argues that this financial assistance can account for part of the racial gap in wealth.

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                                                  • Portes, Alejandro. 1998. Social capital: Its origins and applications in modern sociology. Annual Review of Sociology 24:1–24.

                                                    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.24.1.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    This widely cited review of social capital challenges researchers to avoid truisms and to separate predictors of “civicness” or of economic development from their empirically identifiable causes. Portes offers a strident critique of Putnam’s approach to social capital.

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                                                    • Portes, Alejandro, and Julia Sensenbrenner. 1993. Embeddedness and immigration: Notes on the social determinants of economic action. American Journal of Sociology 98:1320–1350.

                                                      DOI: 10.1086/230191Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      Portes and Sensenbrenner identify four sources of social capital: (1) value introjection, or the shared understandings that guide altruistic behavior within a bounded group; (2) bounded solidarity, or the feeling of being a part of a group and of having a shared sense of fate; (3) reciprocity, or tit-for-tat exchanges; and (4) enforceable trust.

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                                                      • Putnam, Robert. 1993. Making democracy work. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                        A widely influential book that argues that where there is greater sociability and a greater density of associations (soccer teams, rotary clubs, bowling leagues, etc.), there is greater civicness, better-run municipalities, and less corruption. Sociability and informal ties are what make organizational systems.

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                                                        Networks

                                                        Network studies have used individuals and organizations as units of analysis. Some network theorists argue that the structure of relations determines the content of those relations and the life outcomes of occupants of the network. Granovetter 1995 demonstrates that people use their social ties with acquaintances (weak ties) to find employment, and the author coined the phrase “the strength of weak ties.” Smith 2005 counters Granovetter 1995 by showing how marginalized African Americans have advantageous social ties to people with information about jobs but choose not to share that information. Royster 2003 also counters Granovetter 1995 by showing how race still matters for how favors are distributed within a network. Padgett and Ansell 1993 draws attention to multivocality in networks, while Burt 1995 focuses on the occupants of structural holes within a network—persons linking separated groups and enabling nonredundant flows of resources—as having low constraints on their own advancement by virtue of their network position. Baker and Faulkner 1993 shows how network position and structure affect the emergence and success of conspiracies in the heavy-equipment industry. Davis 1991 along with Mizruchi, et al. 2006 focus on corporate interlocks; Podolny 2001 talks about how understandings of the type of network an individual is in affects what flows through those network ties. Powell 1990 examines the conditions under which networks are the preferred way to organize production, compared with a hierarchical or a market form of organization, while Kellogg 2014 identifies buffering practices in networks that facilitate cross-professional collaboration.

                                                        • Baker, Wayne, and Robert Faulkner. 1993. The social organization of conspiracy: Illegal networks in the heavy equipment industry. American Sociological Review 58.6: 837–860.

                                                          DOI: 10.2307/2095954Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          The authors study conspiracies in the switchgear, transformer, and turbine industries, and they find that an individual’s network position affects the likelihood that the individual will be found guilty (or innocent) of the conspiracy; and having been found guilty, network position further predicts the type of sentence imposed. The authors rely on historical data to reconstruct these networks.

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                                                          • Burt, Ronald S. 1995. Structural holes: The social structure of competition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                            Burt argues that competition depends on the structural holes within networks, and structural holes themselves are the areas of disconnection or nonequivalencies that allow an individual to act as a broker between groups who have nonredundant resources. The book opens with the story of how an entrepreneur tried to take over a company by deliberately establishing a structural hole. Originally published in 1992.

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                                                            • Davis, Gerald F. 1991. Agents without principles? The spread of poison pill through the intercorporate network. Administrative Science Quarterly 36:583–613.

                                                              DOI: 10.2307/2393275Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              Davis examines how boards of directors use their networks to defend against hostile takeovers. The defenders use their intercorporate networks to spread a “poison pill” (a costly shareholder rights plan) sharply increasing the cost of a takeover. The study contributes to interorganizational theory and to agency theory through an examination of Fortune 500 companies from 1984 to 1989.

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                                                              • Granovetter, Mark. 1995. Getting a job: A study of contacts and careers. Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press.

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                                                                Granovetter examines how people get jobs and finds that word of mouth and person-to-person contacts help match potential job seekers with employers on the hunt. He coins the phrase “strength of weak ties” to indicate that arms’ length ties to information can be useful for job seekers. Originally published in 1974.

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                                                                • Kellogg, Katherine. 2014. Brokerage professions and implementing reform in the age of experts. American Sociological Review 79.5: 912–941

                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/0003122414544734Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  The author examines how “buffering practices” of lower-status workers—the managing of information, the matching of meanings, and the maintaining of interests—can facilitate reform when professionals resist the adoption of new tasks. Drawing on a comparative ethnographic case study of two community health centers, the author finds that where reform was successful, a brokerage profession of community health workers used buffering practices to protect doctors’ and lawyers’ professional information, meanings, and tasks in everyday work. In this way, the author calls attention to the cross-professional collaboration in everyday work.

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                                                                  • Mizruchi, Mark S., Linda Brewster Sterns, and Christopher Marquis. 2006. The conditional nature of embeddedness: A study of borrowing by large U.S. firms, 1973–1994. American Sociological Review 71.2: 310–333.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/000312240607100207Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    The authors find that the effect of networks on debt financing at 140 large US corporations declined between 1973 and 1994 because finance has become more internationalized, the economic environment has become more volatile, and the institutional arrangements for debt financing have changed over time. In other words, the network effects are conditional on changes in the broader political and institutional environment.

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                                                                    • Padgett, John F., and Christopher K. Ansell. 1993. Robust action and the rise of the Medici, 1400–1434. American Journal of Sociology 98.6: 1259–1319.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1086/230190Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      Padgett and Ansell argue that the Medici of Renaissance Florence were involved in multiple, interacting arenas. The social ties that the Medicis constructed from their weak social position granted them multivocality: no one knew which position they would take, while their opponents were more predictable.

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                                                                      • Podolny, Joel M. 2001. Networks as the pipes and prisms of the market. American Journal of Sociology 107:33–60.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1086/323038Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        Podolny describes the structural configurations of networks as pipes and the interpretive lenses through which actors within the network make sense of their actions as prisms. He argues that the understandings of actors cannot be inferred simply from the configuration of network ties and that the analysis of action in the marketplace must also attend to this interpretive dimension.

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                                                                        • Powell, Walter W. 1990 Neither market nor hierarchy: Network forms of organization. Research in Organizational Behavior 12:295–336.

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                                                                          Powell identifies network forms of organization as an alternative to hierarchical modes of internally organizing a firm or market-based models of atomistic, competitive forms of organization. Network forms of organization work well for collaboration; hierarchical forms, when asset specificity or transaction costs are high; and market forms of organization are appropriate for one-shot transactions.

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                                                                          • Royster, Deirdre A. 2003. Race and the invisible hand: How white networks exclude black men from blue-collar jobs. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                            Royster interviews fifty working-class men at the Glendale Vocational High School and finds that the quality of opportunities made available to white vocational school students differs from those made available to blacks, yet the teachers and the students are unaware of these differences. White instructors are more likely to give white students access to extra jobs and career-enhancing opportunities.

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                                                                            • Smith, Sandra S. 2005. “Don’t put my name on it”: Social capital activation and job-finding assistance among the black urban poor. American Journal of Sociology 111.1: 1–57.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1086/428814Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              Smith argues that having social ties to people who know about jobs (or who can otherwise link one to other valuable resources) is not sufficient because within some groups (such as among poor African Americans) those ties are less likely to be mobilized as the holders of the information deem it inappropriate to share with some of their fellows.

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                                                                              Culture and Economic Organization

                                                                              These works address how cultural frameworks shape the ways that production and distribution are organized. Market action and economic policies are “ideationally embedded” in society (Somers and Block 2005), so having the same technology or the same fundamental material characteristics are not sufficient explanations for variations in economic practices and outcomes. Dobbin 1994 contrasts railway industrial policies across three societies; Biggart and Guillén 1999 analyzes the auto industries in three countries; Orrú, et al. 1991 studies the different configurations that business groups take in three countries; and Fourcade 2010 describes the differences in how economics is practiced as a discipline in three countries. Bandelj 2007 brings the study of culture into foreign direct investment in central and eastern Europe to explain how investors find hosts. Spillman 2012 shows how important noneconomic concerns are for trade associations, while Bandelj, et al. 2015 examines the public sphere debates about economics that shape economic imaginaries and actions. Weber and Dacin 2011 analyzes how culture operates across economic organizations, and Wherry 2014 brings together how sociologists have measured and analyzed culture in a variety of markets.

                                                                              • Bandelj, Nina. 2007. From communists to foreign capitalists: The social foundations of foreign direct investment in postsocialist Europe. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                Bandelj explains how the flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) in central and eastern Europe depend on the cultural relations between origin and recipient sites as well as political structures, migration patterns, and trade relations, even when after controlling for material endowments and demographic attributes. She uses regression analysis on investor-host dyads from 1995 to 1997 in eleven countries.

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                                                                                • Bandelj, Nina, Lyn Spillman, and Frederick Wherry. 2015. Introduction. In Special issue: Economic culture in the public sphere. Edited by Jens Beckert, Donatella Della Porta, Michel Dubois, et al. European Journal of Sociology 56.1: 1–10.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/S0003975615000016Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  This special issue examines how discursive and practical understandings of economic phenomena affect public reactions to private sector economic activities (bonuses and high pay during times of economic crisis), how scientific publics utilize networks and culture to construct and defend significant economic theories, and how economic policy remains enmeshed and responsive to overarching meaning structures.

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                                                                                  • Biggart, Nicole Woolsey, and Mauro Guillén. 1999. Developing difference: Social organization and the rise of the auto industries of South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Argentina. American Sociological Review 64.5: 722–747.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.2307/2657373Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    The authors compare two countries that have succeeded in auto assembly—South Korea and Spain—with two that have not—Taiwan and Argentina. Each country attempted to do the same thing but in a different institutional context where industrial policies defined and dealt with the challenges of industrialization differently and where the legitimate categories of actors, relationships, and organizing logics differed.

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                                                                                    • Dobbin, Frank. 1994. Forging industrial policy: The United States, Britain, and France. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139174183Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      Dobbin explains the variation in industrial policy in the United States, Britain, and France as a cultural phenomenon. During the railway age, these countries had access to the same technology, yet each chose a different path for organizing its railway system. The country’s political culture guides its economic policies.

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                                                                                      • Fourcade, Marion. 2010. Economists and societies: Discipline and profession in the United States, Britain, and France, 1890s to 1990s. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                        Fourcade offers a historical account of the economics discipline between the 1890s and the 1990s to demonstrate that the way that economists think and the way they organize their professions varies by country context. She examines the merchant professionals of the United States, the public-minded elites of Britain, and the state-oriented professionals of France, and why these trajectories varied.

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                                                                                        • Orrú, Marco, Nicole Woolsey Biggart, and Gary G. Hamilton. 1991. Organizational isomorphism in East Asia. In The new institutionalism in organizational analysis. Edited by Paul J. DiMaggio and Walter W. Powell, 361–389. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                          The chapter examines organizational isomorphism in East Asia. Comparing Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, they sketch the structure of the business groups in each country. For example, in Taiwan the intergroup networks allow cross-investments by individuals and firms. In contrast, South Korean business groups do not engage in significant subcontracting, while Japanese business groups have semiformal subcontracting arrangements.

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                                                                                          • Somers, Margaret R., and Fred Block. 2005. From poverty to perversity: Ideas, markets, and institutions over 200 years of welfare debate. American Sociological Review 70.2: 260–287.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1177/000312240507000204Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            The authors develop the concept of ideational embeddedness, noting that the public narratives about the character of nations shape the economic policies these nation-states pursue. They present comparative historical data to examine the rise of welfare policies.

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                                                                                            • Spillman, Lyn. 2012. Solidarity in strategy: Making business meaningful in American trade associations. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226769554.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              Spillman uses a census of more than 4,000 business associations operating in the United States and a focal sample of 231 associations to assess how these associations provide the discursive and normative guidelines for business operations. She highlights the various activities that business associations engage in that are not related to profit generation but to the maintenance of solidarity and the affirmation of shared values.

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                                                                                              • Weber, Klaus, and M. Tina Dacin. 2011. Introduction. In Special issue: The cultural construction of organizational life. Organization Science 22.2: 287–298.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1100.0632Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                In this special issue of Organization Science, the authors outline the changes in cultural concepts used to study economic organizations between 1983 and 2011 to compare analyses that vary along an axis of cultural context (internal versus external) and cultural agency (with culture as a resource versus culture as a constraint).

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                                                                                                • Wherry, Frederick F. 2014. Analyzing the culture of markets. In Special issue: Measuring culture. Edited by Amin Ghaziani and John W. Mohr. Theory and Society 433–4: 421–436.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/s11186-014-9218-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  This article is part of a special issue on measuring culture and outlines the key strategies for detecting and measuring culture as well as cultural processes in markets. These include the identification of discursive inflection points (as the discussions on a particular topic sharply turn in a particular time period) as leading market change or market take off and the importance of expected sequence order for market stability.

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                                                                                                  State and Economy

                                                                                                  The state has played an important role in establishing the rules of the game for economic transactions. Bandelj and Sowers 2010 offers a clear overview of the role governments have played in capitalist economies. Carruthers and Ariovich 2004 reviews the origins and functions of property rights. Evans 1995 studies how social ties between people and the government and those in the private sector have enabled some governments to pick industry “winners” and to marshal the necessary capital to make those industries successful. Evans 1979 has also demonstrated how governments and local capitalists facilitate foreign direct investment. Johnson 1987 examines the role of the government to explain Japan’s remarkable economic rise. Gereffi and Wyman 1990 compares the differences between development in East Asia and Latin America. Gerschenkron 1962 challenges the tenets of modernization theory in this study of eastern Europe, and Rona-Tas 1997 examines the capitalist transition in Hungary. Portes and Smith 2012 shows how institutions affect social and economic development across Latin America.

                                                                                                  • Bandelj, Nina, and Elizabeth Sowers. 2010. Economy and state: A sociological perspective. Malden, MA: Polity.

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                                                                                                    The authors review sociological studies about how the state shapes, regulates, and intervenes in the economy. From one country to the next, the form of the state has varied along with the types of economic interventions these states have perpetrated. The authors reject facile notions about self-regulating markets and unexamined assumptions about the results of state intervention.

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                                                                                                    • Carruthers, Bruce G., and Laura Ariovich. 2004. The sociology of property rights. Annual Review of Sociology 30:23–46.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.30.012703.110538Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      The authors discuss five basic dimensions of property: (1) what can be owned, (2) who can own, (3) what can be done with it, (4) how property rules are maintained, (5) and how property moves between different owners. They contend that property rights matter because of their effects on economic inequality and economic performance.

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                                                                                                      • Evans, Peter. 1979. Dependent development: The alliance of multinational, state, and local capital in Brazil. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                        Evans shows how the triple alliance of the state with local capital and multinational companies produces national economic development. Foreign capital is often hesitant to enter major investment opportunities. Therefore, it was important that the state and local capitalists began this process, demonstrated its success, and enticed foreign investments based on this success.

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                                                                                                        • Evans, Peter. 1995. Embedded autonomy: States and industrial transformation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                          Evans takes the case of South Korea (as well as Brazil and Kerala, India). He shows how a coherent bureaucracy, characterized by corporate coherence and insulation from societal demands and meritocratic rewards, is important for Korea’s economic success. Evans studies the ties the state has to private capital, lowering transaction costs for improved information flows and monitoring capacity.

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                                                                                                          • Gereffi, Gary, and Donald L. Wyman, eds. 1990. Manufacturing miracles: Paths of industrialization in East Asia and Latin America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                            Gereffi and Wyman find state action significant in explaining the economic development of Latin America and East Asia. The Latin American countries operated according to an economic logic while those of East Asia operated according to a political one. The timing of their incorporations into the global economy (the Great Depression of the 1930s versus colonial independence movement) is crucial.

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                                                                                                            • Gerschenkron, Alexander. 1962. Economic backwardness in historical perspective. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                              Gerschenkron shows how the state mobilizes necessary resources in eastern Europe when the capital requirements for investment exceeded what the market could provide. Gerschenkron challenges the modernization approach of the natural stages that a national economy must undergo and the conventional wisdom of the self-regulating market.

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                                                                                                              • Johnson, Chalmers. 1987. Political institutions and economic performance. In The political economy of the new Asian industrialism. Edited by Fredric Deyo, 136–164. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                Johnson makes a strong case for the active involvement of the state in national economic development. Taking the case of Japan’s economic trajectory, he shows that the Ministry for Industry and Technological Investment (MITI) used its links to private industrialists to acquire crucial information about where state investment would be most useful. These links facilitate consensus and reduced transaction costs.

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                                                                                                                • Portes, Alejandro, and Lori D. Smith. 2012. Institutions count: Their role and significance in Latin American development. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                  The authors selected key institutions in Latin America, namely the postal service, the tax authorities, the public health service, the civil aeronautics authority, and the national stock exchange, to ask how deep values are manifested in the normative operations of these institutions. They make comparisons across five countries: Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic.

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                                                                                                                  • Rona-Tas, Akos. 1997. The great surprise of the small transformation: The demise of communism and the rise of the private sector in Hungary. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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                                                                                                                    Rona-Tas examines the fall of capitalism and the rise of privatization in Hungary. He first demonstrates how the elite in Hungary began to invest in private sector ventures and began to see it more favorably than they did political party membership. He also shows how skilled workers and managers struggled to maintain control throughout the transformation, shaping its contours.

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                                                                                                                    Relational Work

                                                                                                                    The concept of relational work was developed in Zelizer 2006 and Tilly 2006. The concept acknowledges the constant negotiations that occur during the course of market exchange motivated by the individual’s attempt to establish what type of relationship he or she is in relative to his or her exchange partner. For Zelizer 2006, relational work refers to the process whereby individuals distinguish the types of social relationships they are in by virtue of the symbolic boundaries they erect around a relationship category, the transaction media they deem as appropriate for using with a specifically defined category of relationship, and the restrictions they place on what is exchanged and how it is exchanged, given the relationship category. Individuals may engage in relational work within a dyad or within a wider group, and the relational work that happens within groups may be within tightly bounded collectivities (such as circuits of commerce) or loosely bounded individuals. Zelizer recognizes that a number of studies that depict these negotiations over what types of monies (what types of currencies and other objects should be bundled and transferred from one individual or site to another) should be matched with what relationship categories, but these studies do not always describe these actions as relational work. Biggart and Castanias 2001 examines rotating credit associations and how participants engage in relational work; Carruthers and Ariovich 2010 offers an overview of money and how its particularized usage depends on relational understandings; Healy 2006 studies blood donation schemes and how actors negotiate the meanings of gifts and payments; Lainer-Vos 2014 examines national attachment through financial instruments resembling gifts. Rossman 2014 challenges us to think about the underbelly of relational work, where taboo or disreputable exchanges take place.

                                                                                                                    • Biggart, Nicole Woolsey, and Richard P. Castanias. 2001. Collateralized social relations: The social in economic calculation. American Journal of Economics and Sociology 60.2: 471–500.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/1536-7150.00071Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Biggart and Castanias review advances in the social sciences that acknowledge how social relationships can be used as collateral for monetary loans; but they focus on the relational aspects of these economic strategies (collateralized relations), demonstrating how “actors knowledgeably and actively utilize social understandings in formulating economic strategies” (p. 472).

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                                                                                                                      • Carruthers, Bruce G., and Laura Ariovich. 2010. Money and credit: A sociological approach. Malden, MA: Polity.

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                                                                                                                        Reviews the different types of money and how they relate negotiated, variable understandings of value and values. The authors discuss different forms of credit. Transfer prices units within a firm charge one another for services rendered, court settlements for wrongful death, and monetary and nonmonetary bundles provided to children as wedding gifts are all financial ways of bolstering, identifying, or altering relationship categories.

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                                                                                                                        • Healey, Kieran. 2006. Last best gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226322384.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Healy describes the complex transactions that made donating blood an altruistic act. Altruism depends on the transaction media being exchanged and the narratives attached to the transaction defining the situation as altruistic. Payments were sometimes marked as insurance premium discounts to maintain meaningfulness. Institutional arrangements and cultural meanings matter for the variation in organ donation by state and by country.

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                                                                                                                          • Lainer-Vos, Dan. 2014. Brothers’ keepers: Gift giving networks and the organization of Jewish American diaspora nationalism. Socio-Economic Review 12.3: 463–488.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1093/ser/mwu003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            The author examines gift giving as a mechanism of nation-building. In particular, he examines the establishment and growth of the United Jewish Appeal for Refugee and Overseas Needs (UJA) in the Unite dStates during the 1940s. Drawing on archival data from the American Jewish Historical Society and the Central Zionist Archives, the author finds that, more than just a means of procuring money, the UJA created an institutional framework through which Jewish Americans became more securely attached to the nation.

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                                                                                                                            • Rossman, Gabriel. 2014. Obfuscatory relational work and disreputable exchange. Sociological Theory 32.1: 43–63.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/0735275114523418Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Rossman asks how actors might engage in relational work when their transactions are taboo. He demonstrates how taboos and stigmatizing exchanges can be obfuscated by packaging together transactions (bundling), by engaging in brokerage, or by framing a transaction as gift exchange.

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                                                                                                                              • Tilly, Charles. 2006. Why? What happens when people give reasons. . .and why. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                Tilly outlines the various ways that people justify their actions and the purposes those justifications serve. A justification is a relational act meant to generate, affirm, mend, or foreclose a particular type of relationship. Justifications are not merely psychological heuristics or the outcomes of a person’s position within a network or a social structure.

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                                                                                                                                • Zaloom, Caitlin. 2006. Out of the pits: Traders and technology from Chicago to London. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                  Zaloom provides an ethnographic account of futures traders who engage in relational work to establish the “ticks” (price intervals indicating the rise and fall of value for their trades). Traders distinguish their own private dollars from these ticks, as each represents a medium of exchange and has to be matched with specific relationship categories.

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                                                                                                                                  • Zelizer, Viviana A. 2006. The purchase of intimacy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                    Zelizer discusses relational work in situations in which money is exchanged along with physical intimacy. Barriers are erected between commercial sex work, care work, marriage, going steady, treating, and less intense forms of coupling. Relational work also becomes crucial for differentiating social relations within households and in mainstream economic markets. She advances these intuitions further in Zelizer 2010 (cited under Circuits of Commerce).

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                                                                                                                                    • Zelizer, Viviana A. 2012. How I became a relational economic sociologist and what does that mean? Politics & Society 40.2: 145–174.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1177/0032329212441591Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      The author defines relational work as the process of creating, maintaining, negotiating, transforming, and terminating meaningful social relations through economic action. She identifies four elements of economic activity: (1) distinctive social ties, (2) a set of economic transactions, (3) media for those transactions, and (4) negotiated meanings. She contends that relational work consists of creating viable matches among those four elements, which constitute relational packages.

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                                                                                                                                      Circuits of Commerce

                                                                                                                                      According to Zelizer 2010, circuits differ from networks in that a circuit cannot be dyadic, and it must include shared moral and categorical meanings about what is being exchanged and what types of transactions are morally and sensibly (rather than technically) feasible. Circuits of commerce refer to groups of actors who come into contact with one another by way of specific economic activities but who also have a shared moral understanding about the nature and worth of their transactions; hence, workers on a factory floor studied in Anteby 2008 understand what behaviors are tolerable for actions in the moral gray zone. Knorr, et al. 2002 describes circuits in the form of groups with specialized language to talk about one another and about their economic transactions. Mears 2011 depicts circuits in the fashion industry and their effects on value. Velthuis 2005 examines circuits in art markets as a common way of evaluating, earmarking, or otherwise accounting for the price of paintings. Wherry 2008 studies circuits of artisans who have a shared recognition that the character of the transactions that happen within the circuit differ from those outside of it (and with an ability to restrict what members of the circuit exchange with people outside of the circuit). And Zaloom 2006 studies how circuits of traders give meaning to the “ticks” on the electronic trading boards. Armenta 2009 describes circuits of nannies in West Los Angeles, and Morrill 1995 examines circuits within corporations. Relational work certainly happens within these circuits of commerce, but it also happens across a wide range of economic transactions and within networks.

                                                                                                                                      • Anteby, Michel. 2008. Moral gray zones: Side productions, identity, and regulation in an aeronautic plant. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                        Anteby examines the understandings among workers on an aeronautic factory floor and asks how they develop rules and moral understandings about appropriate and inappropriate transactions. He examines objects made from materials used at work to make such things as toys for children, household utensils, or other objects to be used or traded for purposes other than official ones.

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                                                                                                                                        • Armenta, Amada. 2009. Creating community: Latina nannies in a West Los Angeles park. Qualitative Sociology 32.3: 279–292.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/s11133-009-9129-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Armenta studies a core group of twelve Latina nannies in a West Los Angeles park and finds that they have developed what Zelizer would call a circuit of commerce—moral understandings of their work and a host of transactions with each other. Armenta herself does not reference the circuits of commerce concept explicitly.

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                                                                                                                                          • Knorr Cetina, Karin, and Urg Bruegger. 2002. Global microstructures: The virtual societies of financial markets. American Journal of Sociology 107.4: 905–950.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1086/341045Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Knorr, Cetina, and Bruegger describe the digital interface and nonmaterial forms of currency that bind together circuits of online traders. There are synthetic encounters, specialized language, and clear distinctions between insiders and outsiders to a circuit.

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                                                                                                                                            • Mears, Ashley. 2011. Pricing looks: Circuits of value in fashion modeling markets. In The worth of goods: Valuation & pricing in the economy. Edited by Jens Beckert and Patrik Aspers, 155–177. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199594641.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              The author demonstrates how an individual with the requisite physical characteristics to join the higher status editorial circuit of models could remain in the lower status mass market circuit by virtue of his adherence to the rituals of sacrifice and deference expected in the higher status circuits. It is in these circuits that value is generated, contested, or degraded.

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                                                                                                                                              • Morrill, Calvin. 1995. The executive way. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                                Morrill provides an ethnographic account of status differentiations within corporations and how the media of exchange (bonuses, first-class tickets, computers, and other perks) constitute a bundle of exchange media that includes salary, marking the boundaries between upper and middle management. Zelizer refers to Morrill’s work to illustrate what a circuit is, but Morrill himself does not use this concept explicitly.

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                                                                                                                                                • Velthuis, Olav. 2005. Talking prices: Symbolic meanings of prices on the market for contemporary art. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                  Velthuis shows that artists, art dealers, and art collectors constitute circuits of commerce and that the prices that patrons pay correlate with the meanings embedded in the circuit. Prices are a medium of exchange that help mark the boundaries of art communities and how members within the circuit talk about these prices furthers their sense of solidarity.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Wherry, Frederick F. 2008. Global markets and local crafts: Thailand and Costa Rica compared. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                    Wherry describes circuits of artisans, brokers, and buyers in Thailand and Costa Rica and analyzes how the value of their works emerge in the meaningful interactions they have and in characterizations of their countries and villages of origin. He demonstrates why handcrafted objects from different countries (and within the same country, different villages) come to be seen as differentially valuable.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Zaloom, Caitlin. 2006. Out of the pits: Traders and technology from Chicago to London. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                                      Zaloom provides an ethnographic account of futures traders who engage in relational work to establish the “ticks” (price intervals indicating the rise and fall of value for their trades). Traders distinguish their own private dollars from these ticks, as each represents a medium of exchange and has to be matched with specific relationship categories.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Zelizer, Viviana. 2010. Economic lives: How culture shapes the economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1515/9781400836253Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Zelizer defines her concept of circuits of commerce in the introduction to Part 5 and in chapter 15 “Circuits within Capitalism” as well as in chapter 16 “Circuits in Economic Life.” Some of the studies she references do not explicitly reference circuits but she demonstrates how her concept helps us reevaluate these studies of economic activities and social life.

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                                                                                                                                                        Money and Accounting

                                                                                                                                                        Offering a history of the material forms that money has taken, Braudel 1981 shows that money is much more than legal tender. Zelizer 1997 argues that money depends on social interactions, shared understandings, and trust to function and to be recognized as having the qualities of money. Money does three things: (1) it facilitates the transfer of the rights to goods and services (transfer facilitation); (2) it may be used in a variety of social locations, across various interaction partners, and for diverse sets of rights (generalized use); (3) and it enables the storage of economic value (storage capacity). Thaler 1999 reviews studies in behavioral psychology and economics that challenge this notion that money is fully fungible by documenting the source of the money, the purpose to which the money will be put, the identities of the persons using the money, and even the timing of the exchange. Carruthers and Babb 1996 captures the debates in the United States after the Civil War about the form that the national currency should take and why; similarly, Helleiner 1998 offers a more sweeping historical overview of money in Western history. Polillo 2011 analyzes how moral authority emerges and is sustained for the creators of currencies. Rona-Tas and Wherry 2008 studies how people use money to characterize the essence of other people and the characteristics that mark these others as similar or dissimilar to mainstream consumers. Rona-Tas and Guseva 2014 asks what facilitates the introduction of new monies (credit cards) in eight post-communist countries. Dodd 2014 updates the debates on the social lives and capacities of money.

                                                                                                                                                        • Braudel, Fernand. 1981. Civilization and capitalism, 15th to 18th century. New York: Harper and Row.

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                                                                                                                                                          Writing about money in the 15th to the 18th centuries, historian Fernand Braudel demonstrates how different categories of people were matched to different categories of money. Size conveyed meanings as well as the type of metal used to produce the currency: princes and large merchants used gold, while merchants and ordinary people used copper. Coin value depended on meanings, not metals.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Carruthers, Bruce G., and Sarah Babb. 1996. The color of money and the nature of value: Greenbacks and gold in postbellum America. American Journal of Sociology 101:1556–1591.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1086/230867Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            Carruthers and Babb use the historical case of money after the Civil War in the United States to demonstrate the extent of implicit expectations people have about money. Two camps—the bullionists (advocates of “hard money”) and the greenbackers (advocates of “soft money”)—emerged to contest the form that money should take.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Dodd, Nigel. 2014. The social life of money. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1515/9781400852048Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Dodd reexamines Simmel’s Philosophy of Money, Zelizer’s The Social Meaning of Money (Zelizer 1997), and other works to revise popular understandings of Simmel and to unsettle our understandings of what monies are and what their capacities for positive social transformation can be. The book opens with a chapter titled “Origins,” followed by Capital; Debt, Guilt, Waste, Territory, Culture, and Utopia.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Fourcade, Marion, and Kieran Healy. 2013. Classification situations: Life-chances in the neoliberal era. Accounting, Organizations and Society 38.8: 559–572.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/j.aos.2013.11.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                The authors argue that the increasing classification of individuals by credit score has led to a different mechanism that shapes life chances. This classification situation differs from class and has expanded greatly in the lives of poor and working-class households in the United States and elsewhere.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Helleiner, Eric. 1998. National currencies and national identities. American Behavioral Scientist 41.10: 1409–1436.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/0002764298041010004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Helleiner describes the symbolic dimensions of money in his analysis of the linkage between money and national identity. Currencies carry nationalist symbols and narratives about the country’s traditions, affect how people within society communicate with one another and with outsiders, and are used in ritual-like interactions as people place their trust in money and become identified with its imagery.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Polillo, Simone. 2011. Money, moral authority, and the politics of creditworthiness. American Sociological Review 76.3: 437–464.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/0003122411407737Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Polillo examines how organizations at the local and national levels gain the requisite legitimacy to generate currencies. He outlines the general social process and notes that creditworthiness requires attending to morality as much as technical concerns with the distribution and exchange of currencies. The article contrasts the state-centered approach to a micro-interactionist one (a circuit-centered micro-sociology).

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Rona-Tas, A., and A. Guseva. 2014. Plastic money: Constructing markets for credit cards in eight post-communist countries. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                      The authors examine the generative mechanisms of credit card markets in eight European and Asian post-communist countries. Drawing on historical data, and semi-structured interviews with ninety-one representatives of card-issuing financial institutions, the authors argue that the generative rules of a market involve defining who can participate and how, and establishing product value. They find that local solutions to these problems led the market for credit cards to look very different in each country.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Thaler, Richard H. 1999. Mental accounting matters. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 12.3: 183–206.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0771(199909)12:3<183::AID-BDM318>3.0.CO;2-FSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Thaler provides a comprehensive review of work on mental accounting—the heuristic devices that individuals use to make sense of how they should spend their money. He highlights how money is not fully fungible—one dollar is not fully equivalent to another because money is marked with meaning depending on when, how often, from where, and to whom it travels.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Wherry, Frederick F. 2008. The social characterizations of price: The fool, the faithful, the frivolous, and the frugal. Sociological Theory 26:363–379.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9558.2008.00334.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Wherry argues that prices are not culturally neutral and argues that consumers become characterized as foolish, faithful, frivolous, or frugal by virtue of how they seem to be evaluating the prices of goods and services. These valuations differ not only by the types of goods and services being purchased but also by the identity (and social location) of the purchaser.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Zelizer, Viviana A. 1997. The social meaning of money: Pin money, paychecks, poor relief, and other currencies. New York: Basic Books.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Zelizer rejects absolute notions of markets as acultural and of money as merely a fungible instrument used to facilitate market exchanges. She shows the source of funds, its users, the allocation and control systems for its use, and the purposes to which different monies have been shaped by cultural codes about gender and family as well as social class. Originally published in 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Performativity

                                                                                                                                                                            Callon 1998 offers the foundational statement of performativity. In short, the author notes that the ideas of economists provide a template for how people should behave and that people are not led by “natural” impulses to act in ways that enable the market to be self-regulating; instead, individuals take their cues from economic theories and market instruments (such as risk measurements and other calculative devices) to learn how to become calculative agents. MacKenzie 2008 as well as MacKenzie and Millo 2003 demonstrate that economists attempt to use a number of different theories or calculative devices that do not mirror reality, but to the extent that these devices are helpful in predicting and manipulating market outcomes, they become “representative” of reality itself. Guala 2001 examines the dynamics of performativity in the market for radio spectra, and Espeland and Sauder 2007 describes how ranking devices reshape law schools. Preda 2009 shows how peoples’ views about financial markets were reformulated and how this view of financial markets affected what people and institutions did to them.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Callon, Michel, ed. 1998. The laws of the markets. Oxford, UK, and Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Michel Callon takes on the concept of calculativeness and embeddedness. The discipline of economics is not merely one of observing economic behavior but it shapes those behaviors. Callon raises the question of how calculative agencies emerge. The volume includes contributions on the social meanings of money, property rights in eastern Europe, and the electricity industry in the United States.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Espeland, Wendy, and Michael Sauder. 2007. Rankings and reactivity: How public measures recreate social worlds. American Journal of Sociology 113:1–40.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/517897Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                The article addresses how instruments used to rank organizations (such as law schools) teach individuals how to evaluate and act upon the identified qualities that bring the organization higher status. Addressing self-fulfilling prophecies, the article demonstrates how the market for law schools is dynamically made.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Guala, Francesco. 2001. Building economic machines: The FCC auctions. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 32.3: 453–477.

                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/S0039-3681(01)00008-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  Guala examines how the Federal Communication Commission auctioned licenses for radio frequency spectra in 1993 and 1994 and had to create ways of understanding and acting within the market. The paper outlines auction theory, a game theoretic approach, and how it was made intelligible to participants in the FCC radio license market.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • MacKenzie, Donald A. 2008. An engine, not a camera: How financial models shape markets. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    MacKenzie spreads his analysis of performativity beyond the Chicago Board Options Exchange, which is detailed in his article with Millo, “Negotiating a Market, Performing Theory” (MacKenzie and Millo 2003). The book also spends more time explaining different ways of approaching the concept of performativity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • MacKenzie, D., and Y. Millo. 2003. Negotiating a market, performing theory: The historical sociology of a financial derivatives exchange. American Journal of Sociology 109:107–145.

                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1086/374404Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      MacKenzie and Millo examine how finance theory enabled individuals to imagine the market for new financial instruments and did not simply reflect those markets. The book details how the Black-Scholes-Merton model influenced the market for derivatives, as the practice of exchanging derivatives took its cue from the theory with actors adjusting their behaviors over time.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Preda, Alex. 2009. Framing finance: The boundaries of markets and modern capitalism. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226679334.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                        Preda examines how financial markets came to be seen as apolitical, socially beneficial, and democratically open institutions. This view of financial markets did not always exist and this way of “seeing” the financial markets affected whether and how people imagined themselves participating in them.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Firms

                                                                                                                                                                                        Economic sociologists studying firms have focused on the social arrangements that facilitate or impede production. Chandler 1977 challenges the notion that firms operate according to universal laws and impersonal inclinations, highlighting their deliberate practices, while Cyert and March 2013 emphasizes routines over strategy. By contrast, Coase 1937 looks at the nature of transaction costs for the emergence of firms, and Williamson 1981 further develops the transaction cost approach. Pfeffer and Salancik 1978 explores the multiple forms of control within firms as well as the firm’s ownership structure, its internal divisions of labor, and its ties to other firms, clients, groups of people outside of the firm, and local and state governments. The challenges of trust, monitoring, and control have been central to sociological studies of the firm, as have the principal-agent problem. Piore and Sabel 1984 looks at large-scale shifts as the regulative environment for industrial production has changed. Roy 1999 highlights the role of the state in enabling the rise of large corporations in the United States. Stark 1996 studies the process of privatization in eastern Europe and how the different property rights regimes informed the transition.

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Chandler, Alfred D. 1977. The visible hand: The managerial revolution in American business. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Chandler’s work is attributed with changing the way that we see firms and markets. Rather than invisible, impersonal forces leading firms to behave in the ways that they do, Chandler looks to the visible practices of management teams. With the rise of the railroads came layered organizations with cost accounting and more complex management techniques.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Coase, Ronald H. 1937. The Nature of the Firm. Economica 4.16: 386–405.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0335.1937.tb00002.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            The author asks, why do firms emerge in a market? He contends that firms emerge when there are market costs and that by allowing an entrepreneur to direct the resources those marketing costs are saved. Moreover, he argues that a firm will continue to expand until the costs of transactions within the firm become equal to the costs of carrying out the same transaction by means of an exchange on the open market.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cyert, Richard, and James G. March. 2013. A behavioral theory of the firm. Mansfield Centre, CT: Martino.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Originally published in 1963. Pushing back against the economic theory of the profit-maximizing firm, the authors contend that firms operate less through calculated decisions than through routines. To understand firm behavior, they introduce concepts such as bounded rationality, probabilistic search, dominant coalition, quasi-resolution of conflict, and standard operating procedures.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Pfeffer, Jeffrey, and Gerald R. Salancik. 1978. The external control of organizations: A resource dependence perspective. New York: Harper and Row.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Firms, like people, are interdependent on one another and on their environment. Control takes a number of different forms: one could own a resource or could have the right to its use; one could also have gate-keeping power, granting access (or denying it); and finally, one could write the rules regulating use, control, access, or ownership of a resource or set of resources.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Piore, Michael, and Charles Sabel. 1984. The second industrial divide: Possibilities for prosperity. New York: Basic Books.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  The second industrial divide refers to how the old understandings of industrialization no longer apply to the new realities, so the lack of flexibility in how firms produce goods, the rigidities in labor, and the macroeconomic policies of government are not suited for these new realities of the 1980s.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Roy, William G. 1999. Socializing capital: The rise of the large industrial corporation in America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1515/9781400822270Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Roy outlines how the large, publicly traded American corporation emerged. Ironically, the modern corporation has its roots in government, which used quasi-public entities to manage the provision of large-scale infrastructure. Moreover, social networks also played an important role in shaping the corporation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Stark, David. 1996. Recombinant property in east European capitalism. American Journal of Sociology 101:993–1027.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1086/230786Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Stark looks at how state histories and social formations within a country constrain the type of privatization programs that the state can undertake. The process of privatization (the strategies) for East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary differed by the actors designated to acquire assets and the resources (financial or positional) needed to acquire property rights.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Williamson, Oliver E. 1981. The economics of organization: The transaction cost approach. American Journal of Sociology 87.3: 548–577.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1086/227496Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The author takes the transaction as the basic unit of analysis and focuses on two critical dimensions of transactions: (1) uncertainty and (2) asset specificity. The author argues that the choice between firms and markets arises through a consideration of governance costs of transactions and asset specificity. When assets are nonspecific, he argues, markets enjoy advantages in both production cost and governance cost. As assets become more specific, however, the benefits of markets are reduced and exchange takes on a progressively stronger bilateral character.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Finance

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Economic sociologists and political economists studying finance fall into three camps. One group focuses on long-term historical trends in the rise of financial markets. Arrighi 2010 along with Magdoff and Sweezy 1987 are a part of this first group, emphasizing the historical phases of capitalism and the crisis of accumulation. A second group of scholars, in works that include Carruthers 2012, Davis 2009, and Krippner 2011, analyzes how finance has increasingly permeated other sectors of the economy and social life. And a third group (reviewed in the edited volume Knorr-Cetina and Preda 2006) highlights the role of networks, cultural understandings, and cognitive frames for the operation of financial markets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Arrighi, Giovanni. 2010. The long twentieth century: Money, power and the origins of our times. New York: Verso.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          In this historical account of the phases of capitalism, Arrighi identifies two phases in the cycle of capitalism: in the first, material production and trade expand; in the second, financial activities (intermediate services and speculation) accelerate. The second phase foretells the crisis in accumulation and endless systemic chaos. Originally published in 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Carruthers, Bruce. 2012. What’s haute in the sociology of finance. Contemporary Sociology 41.6: 739–747.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1177/0094306112462556Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The author reviews recent work in sociology on the topic of finance. Realizing the social significance of finance, he contends that these works underscore the connections between “high” finance of elite investment banks and “retail” finance, which takes place in ordinary households.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Davis, Gerald. 2009. Managed by the markets: How finance re-shaped America. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Davis describes how finance has seeped into numerous sectors of the economy where it did not previously exist. Davis begins with the financial crisis of 2008 to animate how much the financial sector is implicated in other sectors of the economy and with what consequences.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Knorr-Cetina, Karin, and Alex Preda, eds. 2006. The sociology of financial markets. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                The volume addresses the cultural and cognitive frameworks that actors carry into financial markets and delves into the actual practices, noting how the life of the financial market differs from the idealized view offered by financial theory. The contributions also note that gender and social relationships matter and that symbols play an important role.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Krippner, Greta R. 2011. Capitalizing on crisis: The political origins of the rise of finance. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Krippner develops the concept of financialization to describe and explain how finance and financial services have come to dominate the postindustrial society of the United States. She shows how policymakers facilitated finance’s rise (sometimes inadvertently, sometimes as an emergent goal) while addressing nonfinancial social issues.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Magdoff, Harry, and Paul Sweezy. 1987. Stagnation and the financial explosion. New York: Monthly Review Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The authors argue that the economy has experienced a fundamental restructuring as stagnation in production has given rise to a profitable financial sector. Writing in the 1980s, they offer an explicit Marxist account of the coming crisis of accumulation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ethnic and Informal Economies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Social scientists studying ethnic economies include economic sociologists as well as sociologists of immigration, race/ethnicity, and urban studies scholars. Studies of ethnic economies in the United States are driven by a practical concern: how do racial and ethnic minorities participate in the economy through self-employment and entrepreneurship? On the international front, studies of informal economies, such as Agarwala 2008 and Itzigsohn 2000, are similarly driven by concerns about how self-employed individuals and other workers not registered with the state (while similar enterprises are registered) are contributing to local economic development. These ethnic and informal economies are oriented to the social relationships among workers, employers, and their moral community with implications for how norms, values, and networks affect the economic behaviors of the self-employed entrepreneurs and the clustered ethnics in specific industries or in specific geographic locations. Portes, et al. 1991 offers a comprehensive account of the informal economy, and de Soto 2002 develops a neoliberal version of their approach. By contrast, Fernandez-Kelly and Shefner 2006 hones in on the political actions of vendors within the informal economy in Latin America. Aldrich and Waldinger 1990 offers a comprehensive review of ethnic economies, and Waldinger 1999 examines the interracial and interethnic conflicts that emerge in industries with ethnic niches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Agarwala, Rina. 2008. Reshaping the social contract: Emerging relations between the state and informal labor in India. Theory and Society 37.4: 375–408.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/s11186-008-9061-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Agarwala examines the changed relationship between the state and informal sector workers in India brought on by globalization. Informal sector workers are less able to bargain with their employers. Informal sector workers now engage in collective bargaining with the state, whereby they bypass their employers and make citizenship rather than employment claims.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Aldrich, Howard E., and Roger Waldinger. 1990. Ethnicity and entrepreneurship. Annual Review of Sociology 16:111–135.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1146/annurev.so.16.080190.000551Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The authors review the research on ethnic entrepreneurship and argue that the success of these enterprises depends on the interaction between the environments in which these ethnic groups operate and the characteristics of the individual entrepreneurs. They suggest future research on ethnic entrepreneurship, including studies examining the process of becoming an entrepreneur and of maintaining an economic enterprise.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • de Soto, Hernando. 2002. The other path: The economic answer to terrorism. New York: Basic Books.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          De Soto offers a market friendly view of the informal economy and talks about the need to unleash dormant capital by formalizing informal economic activities. The book includes transportation services, housing provisions, and goods that are traded in the informal sector, and the importance of rule of law. Originally published in 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Fernandez-Kelly, Patricia, and Jon Shefner. 2006. Out of the shadows: Political action and the informal economy in Latin America. University Park: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The volume examines how varying state intentions and state capacities affect the development of the informal sector. The volume’s chapters include studies of political action among informal sector workers in Argentina, street peddlers in Mexico City, as well as Costa Rican and Dominican entrepreneurs. It also shows how nongovernmental organizations and other self-help agencies have replaced traditional forms of clientelism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Itzigsohn, José. 2000. Developing poverty: The state, labor market deregulation, and the informal economy in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. University Park: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, Itzigsohn studies the emergence, development, and dynamics of the informal sector. Labor market regulations and various state government agencies facilitate or hinder the development of the informal sector. And the state’s world-system position affects these dynamics. He shows how the state can contribute to increased income and greater security for the informal sector.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Portes, Alejandro, Manuel Castells, and Lauren A. Benton, eds. 1991. The informal economy: Studies in advanced and less developed countries. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The volume establishes a sociological approach to economic activities that are not licit but that are not registered with the state, even though they are supposed to be registered with the state by law. The case studies include the success story of Emilia-Romagna, the electronics industry in Madrid, and the informal sectors of Miami. Originally published in 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Waldinger, Rogers. 1999. Still the promised city? African-Americans and new immigrants in postindustrial New York. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Waldinger defines an ethnic niche as the clustering of an ethno-racial group in an industry where that group’s representation in a specific industry’s population is 150 percent or more of its proportion of employees across all industries. Ethnic niches have their own forms of governance and their own ways of recruiting and excluding workers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Consumption

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Economic sociologists and cultural sociologists have tackled questions of consumption. At the core of the field are studies of how social networks affect consumer tastes. Bourdieu 1984 shows how taste depends on social and cultural location, and Lizardo 2006 shows how tastes for goods and services influence the social ties that people make. DiMaggio and Louch 1998 shows how people use their social networks to look for goods and services, while Christakis and Fowler 2007 looks at how eating habits (and obesity) spread through networks. Collins 2004 discusses the role of rituals in maintaining consumption patterns and the emergence of identity around the use and cultural markings of goods. Wherry 2008 studies how people use money to characterize the essence of other people and the characteristics that mark these others as similar or dissimilar to mainstream consumers. Cook 2004 offers a historical view of how childhood has become commodified, while Schor 2005 offers a contemporary analysis of advertising to children. Zukin and Maguire 2004 reviews the literature on consumers and consumption in the United States and Europe, and Stillerman 2015 updates the review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A social critique of the judgment of taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A foundational analysis of how social networks, embodied cultural capital, and class position affect consumer tastes. Different class fractions made different decisions about what constitutes a beautiful photograph, good music, and tasteful home décor not only because birds of a feather flock together (social capital cemented by tastes) but also because the power of the dominant class is recognized.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Christakis, Nicholas A., and James H. Fowler. 2007. The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years. New England Journal of Medicine 357:370–379.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa066082Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Christakis and Fowler studied more than 12,000 people and their networks from 1971 to 2003 and found that when one’s spouse, sibling, or friend became obese, the linked individual also became at risk for obesity. These findings suggest that the revealed preference for fatty foods versus exercise spreads through network ties like any other epidemic might.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Collins, Randall. 2004. Interaction ritual chains. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In chapter 8, Collins argues that the demand for cigarettes is dependent on ritual chains, not bodily addiction. Some cigar smokers, for example, wear smoking jackets, retire to their smoking room, and relax with other smokers at an informally designated time of day. These and other leisure rituals generate the emotional energy that helps sustain the desire for smoking beyond any physiological craving for tobacco.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cook, Daniel Thomas. 2004. The commodification of childhood: The children’s clothing industry and the rise of the child consumer. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1215/9780822385431Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cook argues that there is a growing division of sizes and age categories with the rise of the department store. Children were not a marketing demographic before 1890, when only one factory existed specializing in children’s clothing. The layout of department stores paid attention to how children view the world and the shopping experience.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • DiMaggio, Paul, and Hugh Louch. 1998. Socially embedded consumer transactions: For what kind of purchases do people most often use networks? American Sociological Review 63.5: 619–637.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/2657331Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DiMaggio and Louch demonstrate the importance of social ties for consumer purchases by debunking the notion that modern markets have eradicated social ties as a means of searching for, selecting, and drawing satisfaction from goods in the modern capitalist marketplace. They define embedded searches as the asking of family, kin, friends, or friends-of-friends for advice about a purchase.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Lizardo, Omar. 2006. How cultural tastes shape personal networks. American Sociological Review 71:778–807.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/000312240607100504Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lizardo explains that similarities in taste increase sociability and that this increase in sociability cements social ties. He extends Bourdieu’s discussion of tastes as spheres of sociability in which the influence of network ties on consumption varies considerably. Acquired and niche tastes correspond to strong social ties; dominated tastes are a combination of strong and weak ties.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Schor, Juliet B. 2005. Born to buy: The commercialized child and the new consumer culture. New York: Scribner.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Schor documents how marketers target children, teaching them what they want. By the time an American child enters kindergarten, she can recognize about 300 commercial logs, and by the age of ten, the names of 400 brands. She identifies strategies employed in marketing and the growing psychological maladies afflicting young people.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Stillerman, Joel. 2015. The sociology of consumption: A global perspective. Malden, MA: Polity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The author explores contemporary consumption practices globally, with a specific focus on non-Western countries. The book examines the relationship between consumption and inequality, as well as the practice of consumer citizenship. The book also draws attention to the relational character of consumption.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Wherry, Frederick F. 2008. The social characterizations of price: The fool, the faithful, the frivolous, and the frugal. Sociological Theory 26:363–379.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9558.2008.00334.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wherry argues that prices are not culturally neutral and argues that consumers become characterized as foolish, faithful, frivolous, or frugal by virtue of how they seem to be evaluating the prices of goods and services. These valuations differ not only by the types of goods and services being purchased, but also by the identity (and social location) of the purchaser.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Zukin, Sharon, and Jennifer Smith Maguire. 2004. Consumers and consumption. Annual Review of Sociology 30:173–197l

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.30.012703.110553Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The authors review how European social scientists have made advances in the study of consumption and they outline some of the limited progress made by American sociologists. The review then hones in on consumption sites, their its role in generating and maintaining collective identities, and how consumption may be studied as an institutional field.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Corporate Social Responsibility

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Studies of corporate social responsibility focus on how social movements have influenced corporations to consider and act publicly on concerns about the environment, poverty, and social justice. Soule 2009 establishes why corporate social responsibility has been on the rise, and King 2008 asks why some firms are more likely than others to respond to the demands of protesters for more corporate social responsibility. Bartley 2007 takes on the question of whether corporate social responsibility and high economic performance are incompatible, a concern also addressed in Margolis and Walsh 2003. And Bartley 2007 describes the organizations that monitor the compliance of firms with their stated social goals. Mayer and Gereffi 2010 points to the limits of voluntary compliance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Bartley, Tim. 2007. Institutional emergence in an era of globalization: The rise of transnational private regulation of labor and environmental conditions. American Journal of Sociology 113:297–351.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1086/518871Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “Transnational private regulation” refers to the fact that private sector organizations rather than governments are certifying how firms are performing in their stewardship of the environment and in their commitment to human and labor rights. Bartley compares forest products with apparel certification organizations to demonstrate the role of politics and institutional entrepreneurship in defining and monitoring corporate social responsibility.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • King, Brayden G. 2008. A political mediation model of corporate response to social movement activism. Administrative Science Quarterly 53:395–421.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2189/asqu.53.3.395Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          King studies corporate boycotts featured in national newspapers in the United States between 1990 and 2005 to ask: what role did social movements play in pushing companies to concede to some of the demands of the protesters? King asks how a company’s sales and its existing reputations affect the likelihood of it making concessions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Margolis, Joshua D., and James P. Walsh. 2003. Misery loves companies: Rethinking social initiatives by business. Administrative Science Quarterly 48:268–305.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/3556659Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The authors examine the tension between the purpose of the firm as being oriented to the economic profits and the increasing trend in firms participating in social programs (e.g., alleviating poverty or improving the natural environment). The authors examine studies of social performance and financial performance of firms between 1972 and 2002 to demonstrate that they are positively correlated.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mayer, Frederick, and Gary Gereffi. 2010. Regulation and economic globalization: Prospects and limits of private governance. Business and Politics 12:1–25.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2202/1469-3569.1325Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mayer and Gereffi argue that corporate social responsibility initiatives are private treaties that do not have the force of law, so the likelihood of its enforcement differs by the type of global value chain the company is involved in, the political opportunities that nonstate actors have to protest the company, and the coincidence of commercial interests with social interests.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Soule, Sarah. 2009. Contention and corporate social responsibility. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511804359Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With the increase in deregulation in the 1980s and the decline in organized labor’s memberships, social movement organizations have changed their tactics and their targets to reflect the new, more fractured realities for social movements—bypassing governments to target corporations directly. The book’s case studies range from the Civil Rights movement to the Dolphin-Safe Tuna movement.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Markets

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Baker 1984 begins by showing how the network structure of the securities market generates stability for trades. Funk and Hirschman 2014 emphasizes categorization for stability in the derivatives market after the repeal of Glass-Steagall. Preda 2012 uses the interaction orders of online trading to show how people nonetheless tag those trades with affect and meaning. Podolny 1993 shows that when producer quality is unobservable prior to a transaction, status may serve as a signal for the quality of that producer’s output, which consumers may rely on for their decisions. Salganik and Watts 2008 uses experimental methods to show how culture works in cultural markets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Baker, Wayne E. 1984. The social structure of a national securities market. American Journal of Sociology 89:775–811.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1086/227944Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The author examines the social structure of a national security market. Drawing on fieldwork, network analysis, and interviews of two marketplaces, the author finds that more market actors were attracted to the marketplace with greater price volatility because it created greater opportunities for profit making. Moreover, he finds that, due to the size of the marketplace, actors restricted their trading networks, which led to greater market differentiation and exacerbated price volatility.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Funk, Russell, and Daniel Hirschman. 2014. Derivatives and deregulation: Financial innovation and the demise of Glass-Steagall. Administrative Science Quarterly 59:669–704.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/0001839214554830Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The authors examine the effects of innovation on regulation. Drawing on historical analysis of interest rates and foreign exchange swaps, the authors find that innovations that are ambiguous with respect to established categories have the potential to challenge and undermine regulatory frameworks by evading regulator scrutiny and allowing firms to engage in activities analogous to those that are prohibited or restricted.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Podolny, Joel. 1993. A status-based model of market competition. American Journal of Sociology 98.4: 829–872.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1086/230091Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The author examines the impact of status on the market behavior of producers. A producer’s status is the perceived quality of that producer’s products in relation to the perceived quality of the products of that producer’s competitors. Through an examination of the investment grade debt market between 1982 and 1987, the author finds that investment banks with higher status were able to underbid their lower-status competitors for the bonds they wished to underwrite.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Preda, Alex. 2012. Tags, transaction types and communication in online anonymous markets. Socio-Economic Review 11:31–56.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1093/ser/mws011Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The author asks if trading screens provide traders with information needed for transactions, then why do traders constantly engage in the distracting and time-consuming practice of instant messaging? He finds that this messaging enables market actors to collectively construct meaning regarding the transactions, which allows them to solve problems that are action and decision relevant.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Salganik, Matthew J., and Duncan J. Watts. 2008. Leading the herd astray: An experimental study of self-fulfilling prophecies in an artificial cultural market. Social Psychology Quarterly 71:338–355.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1177/019027250807100404Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The authors conducted a web-based experiment in which 12,207 participants were given the chance to listen to, rate, and download forty-eight previously unknown songs from unknown bands. They found that participants interpreted the popularity of songs as a signal of song quality. As a result, they find that popularity functions as a status signal in cultural markets.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • White, Harrison C. 1981. Where do markets come from? American Journal of Sociology 87.3: 517–547.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1086/227495Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The author argues that markets are self-reproducing social structures among specific firms and other actors, who evolve roles from observations of each other’s behavior. Firms do not base price and volume decisions on speculation of demand, but rather on the observation of the price and volume decisions of the other firms in the market.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Labor Markets

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This literature looks at the ways in which various factors, including race, gender, education, and social networks, influence how an individual gets a job and becomes upwardly mobile. Podolny and Baron 1997 begins with intra-organizational mobility, while Rivera 2012 turns to cultural matching in elite professional service firms. For Castilla 2011 the demographic characteristics of managers paired with the workers they evaluate affect performance evaluations. Sørensen and Sharkey 2014 looks to network structure and opportunities for advancement to explain the decision to become an entrepreneur, and Leung 2014 asks what kinds of work histories are too mobile to advance well in the labor market. Pager 2003 shows how race trumps criminality in penalizing applicants for jobs, and Pedulla 2014 examines how sexuality and race combine (intersectionality) to produce unexpected advantages for black gay men applying for some types of jobs. Smith, et al. 2012 shows how people use their networks differently to respond to job threat, depending on their socioeconomic status.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Castilla, Emilio J. 2011. Bringing managers back in: Managerial influences on workplace inequality. American Sociological Review 76:667–694.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/0003122411420814Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Castilla asks how the demographic similarities of workers and their managers (demographic homophily) affect how those workers are evaluated. The findings have important implications for promotion and pay within the firm and help explain enduring inequalities in employment.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Leung, Ming D. 2014. Dilettante or Renaissance person? How the order of job experiences affects hiring in an external labor market. American Sociological Review 79.1: 136–158.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/0003122413518638Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The author examines how employers navigate candidates who compile experiences across disparate areas of work. Drawing on E-lance database (a virtual external labor market for contract workers), she finds that some movement across boundaries may make a candidate more desirable, but a candidate with too much movement, or movement between extremely dissimilar experiences, risks being labeled a dilettante. She also suggests that the order of accumulated experiences may matter because it serves as an indicator of commitment.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Pager, Devah. 2003. The mark of a criminal record. American Journal of Sociology 108.5: 937–975.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1086/374403Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The author examines the consequences of incarceration for the employment outcomes of black and white men. Drawing on an audit study in which matched pairs of black and white men were sent to apply for real entry-level jobs in Milwaukee, she finds that while there is a significant and negative effect of a criminal record on the rate of call-back for both black and white candidates, blacks were less likely to receive consideration by employers than their white counterparts, and black nonoffenders even fell behind whites with prior felony convictions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Pedulla, David S. 2014. The positive consequences of negative stereotypes: Race, sexual orientation, and the job application process. Social Psychology Quarterly 77:75–94.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/0190272513506229Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The author examines how stereotypes regarding two stigmatized social groups—black men and gay men—combine with one another to shape employment outcomes. Drawing on original data collected from an Internet-based survey experiment, the author finds that while being gay has negative consequences for white men in the job application process, being gay actually has relatively positive consequences for black men in the process. Rather than producing a “double disadvantage,” stereotypes about gay men as effeminate and weak counteract negative stereotypes that black men are threatening and criminal, making them easier to hire than they would have been for some types of jobs.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Podolny, Joel, and Jim Baron. 1997. Resources and relationships: Social networks and mobility in the workplace. American Sociological Review 62.5: 673–693.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/2657354Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The authors examine how an individual’s network in the workplace impacts their intra-organizational mobility. Drawing on data from a high-technology engineering and manufacturing corporation, they find that those individuals who are upwardly mobile had social ties that allow them to forge clear organizational identities and internalize a coherent set of normative expectations about their organizational roles.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Rivera, Lauren. 2012. Hiring as a cultural matching: The case of elite professional service firms. American Sociological Review 77:999–1022.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/0003122412463213Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The author examines how employers evaluate, compare, and select new hires. Through participant observation in the recruiting department of an elite professional service firm, and interviews with professionals involved in undergraduate and graduate hiring, she finds that employers sought candidates who were not only competent, but also culturally similar to themselves—in terms of leisure pursuits, experiences, and self-presentation. As a result, she argues, the hiring process is more than just a process of skills sorting, it is also a process of cultural matching among candidates, evaluators, and firms.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Smith, Edward Bishop, Tanya Menon, and Leigh Thompson. 2012. Status differences in the cognitive activation of social networks. Organization Science 23:67–82.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1100.0643Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The authors differentiate a person’s actual social network from the portions of the social network they are willing to activate for specific purposes. They find that people with low socioeconomic status (SES) are less likely to activate the full capacities of the actual social network when faced with job threat. In other words, higher SES people engage in a broader search for assistance to find a new job than lower SES people across their available network connections.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sørensen, Jesper B., and Amanda J. Sharkey. 2014. Entrepreneurship as a mobility process. American Sociological Review 79:328–349.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1177/0003122414521810Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The authors examine how opportunity structures within firms shape the decisions of individuals to become entrepreneurs. Drawing on the Danish Integrated Database for Labor Market Research, the authors find that as workers approach the ceiling of the opportunity structure, those with higher levels of firm-specific capabilities have a greater likelihood of choosing entrepreneurship as opposed to switching jobs. That is, people are more likely to choose entrepreneurship when their options for external job mobility are limited by how well suited they are for their current employer.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Categories

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This literature examines the processes by which categories are socially constructed, as well as the effects of those categories on outcomes for both organizations and their products. Zuckerman 1999 begins with the costs imposed for defying categorical expectations in the securities market. Hsu, et al. 2009 takes these insights to the feature film industry. Ruef and Patterson 2009 examines the conditions under which membership across multiple categories is not penalized, while Pontikes 2012 highlights the importance of audience composition for the effects that membership categorization will have. Rao, et al. 2005 looks to French gastronomy and how the market penalty for borrowing across culinary categories declines over time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Hsu, G., M. T. Hannan, and Ö. Koçak. 2009. Multiple category memberships in markets: An integrated theory and two empirical tests. American Sociological Review 74:150–169.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/000312240907400108Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The authors examine two different product markets: (1) the US feature-film industry, where category membership is defined by critics; and (2) eBay auctions, where category membership is defined by the producer. They find that in both cases there are negative economic consequences for products that span multiple categories.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Pontikes, Elizabeth G. 2012. Two sides of the same coin: How ambiguous classification affects multiple audiences’ evaluations. Administrative Science Quarterly 57.1: 81–118.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/0001839212446689Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The author argues that the same label affiliations are evaluated differently depending on the audience. Drawing on evaluations of US software organizations between 1990 and 2002, she finds that ambiguous labels for organizations are less appealing to consumers, but more appealing to venture capitalists.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Rao, Hayagreeva, Philippe Monin, Rodolphe Durand. 2005. Border crossing: Bricolage and the erosion of culinary categories in French gastronomy. American Sociological Review 70:968–991.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/000312240507000605Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The authors examine the erosion of categorical boundaries. Drawing on data on French haute cuisine restaurants from 1970 to 1997, the authors contend that categorical boundaries weaken when the borrowing from a rival category by high-status actors triggers emulation by other actors such that the mean number of elements borrowed increases and the variance in the number of elements borrowed decreases. They show that the penalty for borrowing from categories diminished as the fraction of chefs who borrowed increased and borrowing became more prevalent in the social system.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ruef, Martin, and Kelly L. Patterson. 2009. Credit and classification: The impact of industry boundaries in nineteenth-century America. Administrative Science Quarterly 54.3: 486–520.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.2189/asqu.2009.54.3.486Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The authors take a constructivist approach to classification, and the impact of spanning multiple categories on organizational performance. Drawing on repeated credit evaluations of 100,000 business enterprises from 1870 to 1900, the authors find that organizational membership in multiple categories need not be problematic when classification systems themselves are emergent or in flux.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Zuckerman, Ezra. 1999. The categorical imperative: Securities analysts and the illegitimacy discount. American Journal of Sociology 104.5: 1398–1438.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1086/210178Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Zukerman argues that for a product to compete in any market, it must be viewed by the relevant buying public as legitimate in the product categories in which it seeks to compete. In particular, he contends, in the case of markets where critics shape market patterns through product recommendations and endorsements, a product’s legitimacy requires reviews from the critics who specialize in those categories.

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