Economic Sociology: The Influence Of Social Movements On Markets

Abstract (Via OrgTheory)

While much of economic sociology focuses on the stabilizing aspects of markets, the social movement perspective emphasizes the role that contentiousness plays in bringing institutional change and innovation to markets. Markets are inherently political, both because of their ties to the regulatory functions of the state and because markets are contested by actors who are dissatisfied with market outcomes and who use the market as a platform for social change. Research in this area focuses on the pathways to market change pursued by social movements, including direct challenges to corporations, the institutionalization of systems of private regulation, and the creation of new market categories through institutional entrepreneurship. Much contentiousness, while initially disruptive, works within the market system by producing innovation and restraining capitalism from destroying the resources it depends on for survival.

Additional Excerpt (Via OrgTheory)

In recent years, a new stream of research has emerged that focuses on the destabilizing elements of markets. The focus of this research is on social movements and other change agents that bring contentiousness to markets (Davis, McAdam, Scott & Zald 2005). The literature reflects an empirical reality of markets: for markets to survive, they must be able to connect people and organizations, as well as satisfy the needs that each brings to the exchange; however, because markets tend to centralize resources and power, because not every member of society has equal access to all markets, and because markets sometimes produce harmful externalities, markets frequently become locations of contestation and disruption. One need only turn on the evening news to see the contentiousness of markets. Markets are at the center of controversial issues such as global warming, exploitation of child labor, discrimination, and health care inequities.

Excerpted Conclusion (Via Orgtheory)

In recent years, a new stream of research has emerged that focuses on the destabilizing elements of markets. The focus of this research is on social movements and other change agents that bring contentiousness to markets (Davis, McAdam, Scott & Zald 2005). The literature reflects an empirical reality of markets: for markets to survive, they must be able to connect people and organizations, as well as satisfy the needs that each brings to the exchange; however, because markets tend to centralize resources and power, because not every member of society has equal access to all markets, and because markets sometimes produce harmful externalities, markets frequently become locations of contestation and disruption. One need only turn on the evening news to see the contentiousness of markets. Markets are at the center of controversial issues such as global warming, exploitation of child labor, discrimination, and health care inequities.

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18. December 2009 by Miguel Barbosa
Categories: Curated Readings, Finance & Investing | Leave a comment

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