The Relationship between Economics and Sociology – the Problem of Embeddedness

This essay aims to analyse the most recent acquisitions in economic sociology, setting out from the problem of embeddedness. Firstly, the contribution offered by Mark Granovetter shall be illustrated, demonstrating how the interpretation proposed by this scholar is concentrated on a structural-relational perspective that tends to trace the explanation of economic phenomena to a theory of social networks. In order to enrich and integrate this approach, the contribution offered by the new-institutionalist perspective in contemporary economic sociology will be emphasised, which has focused on the social construction of economic institutions. This current has underlined, on the one hand, the cognitive dimension of embeddedness, related to the way in which the uniformities structured by mental processes limit economic reasoning, and, on the other, the cultural dimension of embeddedness, concerning the role of collectively shared representations in the formation of economic goals. It will be concluded by illustrating the acquisitions of some theoretical perspectives linked to the polanyian tradition that have developed a ‘plural’ conception of economy, founded on the emphasis of socio-regulative principles, such as those of exchange, redistribution and reciprocity, which, in becoming hybrid, give shape to variable and historically anchored economic worlds. The concept of embeddedness roots historically and transmits a vision of economic processes as inseparable from noneconomic institutions.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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