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Principles of Economic Sociology Hardcover – May 4, 2003

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Principles of Economy Sociology is an ambitious book. Swedberg sets out to provide a thorough survey of the field. This includes addressing the foundations, framework of analyses and topics of study of economic sociology. . . . [It] is a showcase for Swedberg's erudite and eclectic thinking. . . . First, [Swedberg] provides a comprehensive overview of the field of economic sociology readable by the expert and the novice alike. Second, his knowledge of economic and sociological theory, as they apply to the field of economic sociology, is sweeping and offers a foundation for interdisciplinary discourse. Third, Swedberg takes us outside American Sociological enthnocentrism and introduces us to the works of Europe's major economists and sociologists. . . . Fourth, in his attempt to be all encompassing, he promotes a theoretical and methodological pluralism worthy of applause."--Linda Brewster Stearns, Contemporary Sociology

From the Inside Flap

"Ambitious, erudite, and compelling, this is the first book to encompass systematically the fundamentals of economic sociology. It offers a uniquely readable and learned overview, while also setting an agenda for the field."--Bruce Carruthers, Northwestern University

"Swedberg is a veritable encyclopedia in the fields of economics and economic sociology, and he brings his wide knowledge of both fields to bear in this book. The result is a comprehensive textbook that is a 'must-read' for scholars, and is still accessible and lively enough to be the perfect introduction for juniors, seniors, and graduate students."--Frank Dobbin, Princeton University


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (May 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691074399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691074399
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,385,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Moises V. Balestro on July 12, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From a highly qualified economic sociologist, this book plays a key role in organizing the basic principles from economic sociology. It is very useful for undergraduate students as well as those willing to join this field. By grasping its contents, readers will be able to move on to more indepth studies in the area.
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Format: Hardcover
Richard Swedberg has produced a self-contradictory overview of economic sociology. The book isn't as much an attempt at a systematic set of princples of economic sociology as the title touts, as much as it is an overview of the work of principal economic sociologists. Swedberg professes to approach the subject from the "interpretive" or "world-view" method of sociologist Max Weber, but then proceeds to frame much of the discussion in a structuralist approach focusing on markets, political and legal institutions, and gender roles. Curiously, unlike Weber, Swedberg confines the discussion of religious worldviews to a mere eight pages of his 366 page text. One can only surmise that this might derive from Swedberg's social location as a scholar originating from Sweden, a secular welfare state, and from his position as an academic who, unlike Weber, has not been immersed in the commercial and legal worlds. Nonetheless this is a comprehensive survey of the topic which will mainly be of parochial importance to other sociologists, which appears to be the reference group to which the book is addressed. Despite these limitations the book contains a fascinating discussion of markets in history, is dotted with humorous cartoons to lighten up serious subjects, and contains a 50-page bibliography as part of the 366 page book. Swedberg has done the heavy lifting for future economic sociologists. But any major contributions to economic sociology are not likely to come from the academy alone, but from some individual immersed in both the academy and commerce as was Max Weber. Swedberg finds that the common thread through the works of other economic sociologists is the central concept of "economic interests.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The grand masters of sociology, including Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, Pareto, had important things to say about the economy, but what has come to be known as "economic sociology" probably stems from Harrison White's famous 1981 article, "Where do Markets Come From?" market studies by Ronald Burt and others in the following decade, and the well-known 1985 manifesto by Mark Granovetter, "Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness," in the American Journal of Sociology. This new strand of economic sociology is inspired by network theory, by institutional theory, and by the theory of cultural influences on economic activity, and has produced a fair number of insightful market studies that shed light on exactly how markets work, going way beyond the economists bare-bones depiction of economic actors as isolated rational maximizers. Swedberg's book does a fair job of outlining the principles of the new economic sociology, although it is marred by his insistence on developing a second theme, that economic sociology should include "interests" as a central theoretical focus. Perhaps it should, but Swedberg does not have the space to justify his position in this book, so I will ignore it.

The new economic sociology began with a strong and indeed bitter critique of the standard (neoclassical) theory of market competition, and expressed the hope that its findings would not simply augment our knowledge of competition contributed by economic theory, but would actually solve problems the economic approach could not, and would eventually displace economic theory. Well, this as certainly not happened. Indeed, there is no problem that I can think of that economists care about that is impervious to economic modeling but can be effectively handled with economic sociology.
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Format: Paperback
good book
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