Joint Interim Conference of ISA RC02 “Economy and Society” and ESA Economic Sociology Research Network with the support of ASA Economic Sociology Section.



 Plenary sessions.doc

 MC_1_New theoretical perspectives in economic sociology-2.doc

 MC_2_Money, Finance and Society-1.doc

 MC 3_ Organizations and institutions in emerging markets.doc

 MC_4_Emergence and Innovation in Markets and Organizations.doc

 MC_5_Gender and Work transformation-3.doc

 MC_6_Market society and moral order (revised).doc

 MC_7_ Performing economy in a material world.doc

 MC_8 Capitalist globalization and its alternatives.doc

Conference theme statement

Over the last quarter century, new economic sociology emerged and evolved, by and large, within the broad theoretical framework of social embeddedness of economic action. While being initially rooted in the structural social networks perspective, the framework gradually expanded to integrate institutional and cultural arguments and to overcome the analytical separation between economic and social. More recently, it was complemented by the performativity approaches, which challenge traditional inquiries into the socially constructed nature of markets by focusing instead on their role in constructing (performing) societies. These developments show that the concept of social embeddedness has inspired a large number of insightful sociological theories and empirical studies of economic phenomena which, taken together, constitute a mature field of inquiry with its distinctive questions, arguments, and contributions. Yet, today's rapidly evolving and highly uncertain economic realities put these theories to a challenging test. Are they up to the task of thorough understanding market transitions in postcommunist and third-world countries, the continuing global financial crisis, or the new modern forms of calculability, governance, and social control? Given a rather static view of social embeddedness, how much can we say about the emergence, reproduction, and dissolution of networks, markets, and institutions, in other words, the dynamic nature of socio-economic reality? Or, on the contrary, about the stubborn resistance to change of old patterns of inequality and forms of governance? Does the proliferation of online purchases and Internet social networking sites radically alter the very notion of embeddedness? Overall, do our theories have enough "give" and can be slightly adjusted to answer such questions, or do we need a completely new toolkit to tackle them? The conference brings together the leading experts in the field who will concretize and explore these questions with regard to their own areas of research and theoretical approaches.

 Status of the conference

Joint Interim conference of ISA RC02 “Economy and Society” and ESA Economic Sociology Research Network with the support of ASA Economic Sociology section.


Program committee

Jens Beckert, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (ESA, ESRN)

William Carroll, University of Victoria, Canada (ISA, RC02)

Nigel Dodd, LSE (ESA, ESRN)

Alya Guseva, Boston University (ASA, ES section)

Georgina Murray, Griffith University, Australia (ISA, RC02)

Maria Nawojczyk, University of Science and Technology, Poland (ESA, ESRN)

Vadim Radaev, Higher School of Economics (ESA, ESRN; HSE)

Valery Yakubovich, ESSEC Business School (ASA, ES section)


Search the programme

The conference has four plenary sessions with two keynote speakers each, and 8 parallel mini-conferences with 3 sessions each.


Plenary sessions and featured speakers


Plenary session 1. Capitalist development and institutional change            

Frank Dobbin (Harvard University)

Glenn Morgan (University of Cardiff, UK)

Plenary session 2. Power of networks                                    

Roberto Fernandez (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Brian Uzzi (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University)


Plenary session 3. Culture and Valuation                                          

Marion Fourcade (University of California, Berkeley)

Laurent Thevénot (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris)


Plenary session 4. Knowledge, Technology, and Markets   

Karin Knorr Cetina (University of Chicago)

David Stark (Columbia University)


Mini-conferences and coordinators


Mini-conference 1. New theoretical perspectives in economic sociology


Patrik Aspers (Stockholm University) patrik.aspers@soc.uu.se

Jens Beckert (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies) Beckert@mpifg.de

Economic sociology is by now an established field of research. Several theoretical approaches are being fruitfully used by economic sociologists. There are, however, only few debates on theory development in the field. The aim of this mini conference is to invigorate the debate on theoretical approaches in economic sociology. We are especially interested in papers discussing new ideas for theoretical conceptualization in the field.


Mini-conference 2.  Money, finance and society


Nigel Dodd (London School of Economics and Political Science) N.B.Dodd@lse.ac.uk

Alya Guseva (Boston University) aguseva@bu.edu

Olga Kouzina (National Research University ‘Higher School of Economics’) kuzina@hse.ru

We welcome submissions in the following areas:

We welcome a range of methodological approaches, including but not limited to archival research, ethnography, interviews, formal network analysis and survey research. Projects that are global and comparative in nature are particularly encouraged.


Mini-conference 3.  Organizations and institutions  in emerging markets        


Neil Fligstein (University of California, Berkeley) fligst@berkeley.edu

Vadim Radaev (National Research University ‘Higher School of Economics’)  radaev@hse.ru

The sociology of markets has been one of the most vibrant fields in sociology in the past 30 years. Still there is a lot of disagreement between theory camps and too many gaps in empirical research. Recent crises have brought new challenges for the scholars and policy makers.

Mini-conference welcomes theoretical and empirical papers on formation and transformation of organizations and markets both in the developed and developing societies. We are particularly interested in papers focusing upon changes in institutional arrangements including property rights, governance structures, and interfirm relationships. 


Mini-conference 4.  Emergence and innovation in markets and organizations


David Stark (Columbia University) dcs36@columbia.edu

Valery Yakubovich (ESSEC Business School,  Paris) yakubovich@essec.fr

Within the embeddedness perspective, economic sociologists identified and carefully documented the three-fold role of the network form of economic organization as the origin, viable alternative, and necessary supplement to markets and hierarchies. In many ways, we anticipated the emergence of the horizontal organization as an invention of the 21st century equal to the invention of the hierarchical firm a century earlier. Yet, our own theories teach us that one organizing principle rarely constitutes a viable organizational form, and that coercive, normative, and mimetic pressures towards the dominant organizational form lead to inefficiencies that, in turn, open opportunities for a new wave of organizational innovation.

For this session, we solicit papers that take a closer look at the organizations and markets that emerge in response to ongoing technological advances and environmental pressures, on the one hand, and continuing economic crises and institutional reforms, on the other. Does the network form adequately describe such organizations and markets? Are additional specifications needed to capture cognitive, normative, or regulative aspects of the institutional environment in which modern firms operate? Alternatively, we welcome authors who take a close look at new organizational forms without a preconceived network vocabulary and ask what kind of typology captures their diversity the best. Whatever approach contributors take, we encourage them to assess the degree to which their organizational forms are socially constructed bottom up or imposed top down, and discuss the implications of these processes for our theories of organizational and market emergence.


Mini-conference 5.  Gender and work transformation                      


Sarah Ashwin (London School of Economics and Political Science) s.ashwin@lse.ac.uk

Roberto Fernandez (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) robertof@mit.edu

The dramatic growth in women's employment, education and opportunities since 1945 is often termed a "gender revolution". At the same time, patterns of gender stratification have been comparatively slow to change. Gender hierarchies have also proved quite resilient during periods of economic transformation, whether system-wide, or within particular industries or organizations. Nevertheless, the outcome is never guaranteed, and such moments of flux provide an opportunity to study the processes through which gender stratification is reproduced or undermined. We invite papers on gender and work restructuring.

We are particularly interested in receiving papers that study how pre-existing patterns of gender stratification are disrupted or sustained in the face of large-scale or more local changes.

Mini-conference 6.  Market society and moral order                                   


Marion Fourcade (University of California, Berkeley) fourcade@berkeley.edu

Kieran Healy (Duke University) kjhealy@gmail.com

Philippe Steiner (Université Paris-Sorbonne) philippe.steiner@paris-sorbonne.fr

Depending on the period, the place and the political orientations of authors, the market has variously been seen as a civilizing force in society, a corrosive influence on character, a seedbed of personal virtue, an engine of envy, exploitation and spite, the foundation of individual freedom, a destructive juggernaut, and a fragile structure liable to break without the right mix of supporting values and institutions.

How does the introduction of monetary exchange transform norms, aesthetic values, politics, and social bonds? Moving away from the exploitation/commodification vs. innovation/creativity dilemma, recent work in the sociology of markets has renewed the study of the theoretical and empirical relationships between market institutions and the production of moral categories. This session will single out contributions that address this relationship one way or another, and draw out their implications for modern societies. Papers may focus on hotly contested issues, such as gambling, prostitution, the commercialization of body parts, the environment, science and personal emotions; the introduction of market criteria in the provision of social services and in measuring the worth of individuals, organizations and countries; the financialization of economies and personal lives. We also welcome related topics not explicitly mentioned in this abstract.


Mini-conference 7.  Performing economy in a material world         


Trevor Pinch (Cornell University) tjp2@cornell.edu

Gregory Yudin (National Research University ‘Higher School of Economics’) gregloko@yandex.ru

The recent decade has provided abundant evidence of inherent instabilities in financial markets and the economy at large and presented new questions for scholars and practitioners. This miniconference will take the view that the economy is always in the making. The turn to theories of performance is one of the hallmarks of recent approaches at the intersection of economic sociology and science and technology studies. But what exactly does it mean to perform an economy? What roles are played by material objects in structuring the economy and economics? How are everyday practices entangled with these views of performativity?  What does it take for the agents to stabilize the performance – to reconcile economic theory with reality, to subdue the unruly materiality? This mini-conference will be centered on several main topics:

We welcome both theoretical papers and contributions based on empirical research. 


Mini-conference 8.  Capitalist globalization and its alternatives       


William Carroll (University of Victoria, Canada) wcarroll@uvic.ca

Georgina Murray ( Griffith University, Australia ) g.murray@griffith.edu.au

As economic sociology has evolved around the concept of embeddedness, an older tradition of sociology, drawing on political economy and power structure analysis, has probed the conflictual relations and dynamics of globalizing capitalism. Four decades after the first wave of scholarship on the internationalization of capital and its socio-political entailments and ramifications, a rich interdisciplinary literature, centred to a great degree in sociology, has grown up around such issues as transnational class formation; financialization, crisis and spatial-temporal fixes; the changing character of core-periphery relations; and alter-globalization, post-capitalismand counter-hegemony. These invite us to view the‘economic’not as socially embedded markets but more sociologically, as aconcept that relates back to the  mode of production as a vehicle of capitalist accumulation and control. Concomitantly,theycall to attention the co-constitutive nature of the economic, social and political.This mini-conference welcomes papers, whether empirical or theoretical, that address these sorts of issues and challenges.

Please note that all proposals should be sent through the online Submission system.