PA - C8 - HFC655 : Economic Sociology

Domaine > Humanité et sciences sociales.


The course is an introduction to economic sociology. As a subfield that has grown extraordinarily over the past thirty years, economic sociology has proposed a sociological investigation of economic phenomena. It first seeks to critique the analytical assumptions and epistemology commonly shared within mainstream economics. But it also offers sociologically grounded of economic phenomena. It ultimately searches to formulate alternative accounts of economic behavior and economic processes. Economic sociology therefore claims that rational action hypothesis does not offer accurately represent individual economic actions, not more than perfect competition provides an understanding of concrete market mechanisms.

This course will provide an overview of the broad concerns and approaches in economic sociology, and review the sociological explanations of economic activities. Its organization . A first sequence will be devoted to two basic economic phenomena: exchange and market. It will question markets as naturally “emerging” mechanisms, by shedding light on non-market types of exchange (such as gifts) and on market-building processes. A second sequence will be devoted to four categories of economic actors: States, firms, consumers, and economists.

Students are expected to attend each meeting, and participate actively in class. The final paper will constitute 80% of the grade. Participation in class discussions will add up to the remaining 20% of the grade.

Format des notes

Numérique sur 20

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Programme détaillé

Course Schedule

Week 1. General Introduction. Basic notions of economic sociology

Week 2. Exchange and Market (1). A Critique of Homo Oeconomicus

Week 3. Exchange and Market (2). The Gift as Economic and Social Exchange

Week 4. Exchange and Market (3). A Sociological Perspective on Markets

Week 5. Exchange and Market (4). Where Does Value Come From?

Week 6. Economic Actors (1). States

Week 7. Economic Actors (2). Firms

Week 8. Economic Actors (3). Consumers

Week 9. Concluding Remarks. The Issue of Uncertainty


Suggested Readings

Jens Beckert, Beyond the Market. The Social Foundations of Economic Efficiency, Princeton University Press, 2002 [orig. ed.: 1997].

Pierre Bourdieu, The Social Structures of the Economy, Polity Press, 2005 [orig. ed.: 2000].

Frank Dobbin (ed.), The New Economic Sociologu: A Reader, Princeton University Press, 2004.

Neil Fligstein, The Architecture of Markets. An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First Capitalist Societies, Princeton University Press, 2001.

Marion Fourcade, Economists and Societies. Discipline and Profession in the United Staes, Britain, & France, 1890s to 1990s, Princeton University Press, 2009.

Lucien Karpik, Valuing the Unique. The Economics of Singularities, Princeton University Press, 2010 [orig. ed.: 2007].

Marcel Mauss, The Gift. The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, WW Norton, 2000 [orig. ed.: 1923-24].

Donald McKenzie, Fabian Muniesa and Lucia Siu (eds.), Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics, Princeton University Press, 2008.

Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds), The Handbook of Economic Sociology, 2nd ed., Princeton University Press, 2005.

David Stark, The Sense of Dissonance. Accounts of Worth in Economic Life, Princeton University Press, 2009.

Max Weber, Economy and Society, University of California Press, 2013 [orig. ed.: 1922].

Viviana A. Zelizer, The Social Meaning of Money. Pin Money, Paychecks, Poor Relief and Other Currencies, Basic Books, 1994.

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