Economic Sociology: A Systematic Inquiry

Economic Sociology: A Systematic Inquiry

by Alejandro Portes
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691142238

ISBN-13: 9780691142234

Pub. Date: 05/09/2010

Publisher: Princeton University Press

The sociological study of economic activity has witnessed a significant resurgence. Recent texts have chronicled economic sociology's nineteenth-century origins while pointing to the importance of context and power in economic life, yet the field lacks a clear understanding of the role that concepts at different levels of abstraction play in its organization.

Overview

The sociological study of economic activity has witnessed a significant resurgence. Recent texts have chronicled economic sociology's nineteenth-century origins while pointing to the importance of context and power in economic life, yet the field lacks a clear understanding of the role that concepts at different levels of abstraction play in its organization. Economic Sociology fills this critical gap by surveying the current state of the field while advancing a framework for further theoretical development.

Alejandro Portes examines economic sociology's principal assumptions, key explanatory concepts, and selected research sites. He argues that economic activity is embedded in social and cultural relations, but also that power and the unintended consequences of rational purposive action must be factored in when seeking to explain or predict economic behavior. Drawing upon a wealth of examples, Portes identifies three strategic sites of research—the informal economy, ethnic enclaves, and transnational communities—and he eschews grand narratives in favor of mid-range theories that help us understand specific kinds of social action.

The book shows how the meta-assumptions of economic sociology can be transformed, under certain conditions, into testable propositions, and puts forward a theoretical agenda aimed at moving the field out of its present impasse.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691142234
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
05/09/2010
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables ix

Preface xi

Chapter 1 Economic Sociology: Past Achievements and Present Challenges 1

Chapter 2 The Assumptions That Ground the Field 10

Chapter 3 Social Capital 27

Chapter 4 The Concept of Institutions 48

Chapter 5 The Concept of Social Class 71

Chapter 6 Social Class (Continued) 101

Chapter 7 The Informal Economy 130

Chapter 8 Enclaves and Middleman Minorities 162

Chapter 9 Transnational Communities 195

Chapter 10 Markets, Models, and Regulation 220

Notes 237

Bibliography 261

Index 291

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