The Market / Edition 1

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The Market addresses one of the most controversial answers to the question, 'how is social order possible?' Ever since Adam Smith conceived the idea of an 'invisible hand', advocates of the market have argued that social cohesion, material prosperity and political vitality are best achieved not by central control and planning but by laissez-faire - the policy of non-intervention.

In this book, Alan Aldridge guides readers through the complex interplay between analysis, description and ideology that characterizes social theorizing on the market. A distinctive feature of The Market is its emphasis on the role of culture in shaping the social reality of markets as perceived and experienced by people participating in them.

Ideologies examined include:

* Market fundamentalism - the conviction that free markets are universally beneficial

* Market populism - the assertion that the free market reflects the democratic will of the people

* Economic 'man' - the notion that the main motive of our actions is to maximize our personal advantage

* Globalism - the claim by neo-liberals that the global expansion of markets is irresistible, making political action irrelevant

The Market will be essential reading for students and researchers interested in the sociology of economic life, economic sociology and political economy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Aldridge writes with remarkable clairty and insight, surveying therise of sociological ideas on marketisation, charting the politicalhistory of markets and analysing various responses across thesocial sciences ... [His] work is certainly likely to be widelyread by students in economic sociology, political economy andsocial theory."

Professor Anthony Elliot, Department of Sociology, KentUniversity.

Clearly written and very readable,Aldridge’s surveys a range of debates on the rise of themarket, its advocates and critics, successes and failures, marketideologies and social values, globalization and the "marketization"of public life. The discussion is admirable in being botheven-handed and critically sharp. Concepts and arguments are alwaysclearly explained, and theoretical accounts are brought to lifewith numerous relevant examples.’ – Dr Fran Tonkiss,Department of Sociology, London School of Economics and PoliticalScience.

‘Alan Aldridge has written a thoughtful book on the marketand how it structures social activity. Amongst other things, hiswork rescues Adam Smith for Sociology and delinks him from thosecruder rational choice theorists who have hijacked this complexthinker. The book will prove a useful teaching aid for any courseexamining the nature of markets and theories about them. Betweenthis and his book on consumption, Aldridge is proving to be aninsightful commentator on the issues of our time.’ –Professor Gerard Hanlon, The Management Centre, University ofLeicester.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Alan Aldridge is Reader in the Sociology of Culture at the University of Nottingham.

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Table of Contents



1. The rise of the market.

Elements of market society.

The invisible hand: social co-ordination without aco-ordinator.

Freedom, liberalism and the market.

Christian, civic republican and Marxian responses.

The market as utopia and dystopia.

The expansion of the market..

2. Capitalism and the free market: success andfailure.

Market populism.

The efficient market.

Market fundamentalism.

Public choice theory.

Rational choice and instrumental rationality.

Market failure.

Denying market failure: in defence of monopoly.

Market-based solutions: protecting the environment.

Is and ought: the market as ideology..

3. The social reality of markets.

The problem of social order.

A question of trust.

Embeddedness, trust - and fraud.

Abandoned markets, abandoned consumers.

Human beings as rational actors.

Freedom and autonomy.

Money and monies.

Primitive and modern economies.

The 'problem' of culture..

4. Colonization, compromise and resistance.

Beck's critique of globalism.

The globalization of nothing? Market socialism.

The Third Way.

In defence of practices Promotional culture: the case ofuniversities.

The market experience.



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