Society and Economy—a work of exceptional ambition by the founder of modern economic sociology—is the first full account of Mark Granovetter’s ideas about the diverse ways in which society and economy are intertwined.
The economy is not a sphere separate from other human activities, Granovetter writes. It is deeply embedded in social relations and subject to the same emotions, ideas, and constraints as religion, science, politics, or law. While some actions can be understood in traditional economic terms as people working rationally toward well-defined ends, much human behavior is harder to fit into that simple framework. Actors sometimes follow social norms with a passionate faith in their appropriateness, and at other times they conform without conscious thought. They also trust others when there is no obvious reason to do so. The power individuals wield over one another can have a major impact on economic outcomes, even when that power arises from noneconomic sources.
Although people depend on social norms, culture, trust, and power to solve problems, the guidance these offer is often murky and complicated. Granovetter explores how problem solvers improvise to assemble pragmatic solutions from this multitude of principles. He draws throughout on arguments from psychology, social network studies, and long-term historical and political analysis and suggests ways to maneuver back and forth among these approaches. Underlying Granovetter’s arguments is an attempt to move beyond such simple dualisms as agency/structure to a more complex and subtle appreciation of the nuances and dynamics that drive social and economic life.
This book represents not only a long-awaited statement by the leading figure in one of the most vibrant subfields of sociology, but also a major contribution to the social sciences as a whole. Always a masterful writer, Granovetter is in rare form here, giving the book an almost ‘impossible-to-put-down’ quality. This is the most important work ever published in the field of economic sociology. It should be read by anyone with an interest in social theory, and social life in general.
This long awaited book by one of the founders of the New Economic Sociology builds conceptual grounds for a sociological perspective of the economy. Focusing on the role of norms, trust, power, and institutions for the workings of the economy, Society and Economy is an impressive synthesizing statement that will help structure future research. Based on discussions covering a staggering range of scholarship, Granovetter’s book demonstrates the crucial importance of social structures for economic organization. One can only hope that it will reach a broad and interdisciplinary audience.
Breathtaking in scope and insight.
A summing up of a lifetime’s work in economic sociology…Brings to mind an earlier age in social science with books like Max Weber’s Economy and Society and Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation…A wide-ranging and deeply thought through book.
Long-awaited…Granovetter’s sociology develops conceptual tools for an analysis of economic life…[He] offers a powerful broadside against neoclassical economic assumptions.
- 256 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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