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Markets, Meanings, and Social Structure

Second Edition

May 2012 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This long-awaited second edition of Economy/Society Markets, Meanings, and Social Structure continues to offer an accessible introduction to the way social arrangements affect economic activity, and shows that economic exchanges are deeply embedded in social relationships. Understanding how society shapes the economy helps us answer many important questions. For example, how does advertising get people to buy things? How do people use their social connections to get jobs? How did large bureaucratic organizations come to be so pervasive in modern economies—and what difference does it make? How can we explain the persistence of economic inequalities between men and women and across racial groups? Why do some countries become rich while others stay poor? This book presents sociological answers to questions like these, and encourages its readers to view the economy through a sociological lens.

Chapter 1: The Embeddedness of Markets
Markets and Their Alternatives

Markets and Their Preconditions

The Embeddedness of Markets

The Consequences of Markets

The Variety of Capitalisms


Outline of the Book

Chapter 2: Marketing and the Meaning of Things
Things and Meaning

Commodities as Gifts


Consumers and Debt


Diversity and Consumerism

Consumerism and Globalization


Chapter 3: Organizations and the Economy
The Power of the Boss

Organizations around the Globe

Organizations and Internal Labor Markets

The Organizational Context for Conflict

Workplace and Personal Life

The Formation of an Organizational Economy


Chapter 4: Networks in the Economy
What Is a Network?

Why Networks Matter

Individual Networks

The Importance of Networks in Markets


Chapter 5: Banking and Finance
What Does a Financial System Do?

Finance and Development

Regulation and Deregulation


Innovation and Status

Household Finance

Globalization and Finance


Chapter 6: Economic Inequality
Inequality in Perspective

Inequality and Efficiency

Explaining Recent Trends in Income Inequality


Race, Gender, and Inequality

Gender in the Labor Market

Race in the Labor Market

Race, Mortgage Discrimination, and Wealth Inequality

Race, Gender, and Price


Chapter 7: Economic Development
Economic Development Defined

From The Wealth of Nations to the Washington Consensus

Sociological Perspectives on Development


Chapter 8: Conclusion

Economy/Society is one of the book on which this course is based. Students very much appreciate the clear overview and the examples. Together with journal articles, this book provides them with a good understanding of how sociologists investigate economic processes.

Mr Ferry Koster
Sociology Department, Erasmus University Rotterdam
December 10, 2014

A fine book in this relatively niche area. Looks at this area from a fresh perspective and lends a counter argument to much mainstream economic literature

Mr Joe Fitzgerald
School of Business, Institute of Business & Technology
February 15, 2013

Carruthers and Babb present an excellent textbook both for those working in fields that transcend a simple view of Economics as an optimization science and to more orthodox economists interested in expand their mental maps of economic science. It debates how markets are embedded in societies and depend on social structures and institutions that frame their functioning. In this way, the authors show that markets are neither the only institution nor the most relevant one in economic order. The book, anchored in notions, such embeddedness and networks that are being developed in the scope of Economic Sociology, provides the understanding of the interconnections between economy and society, facilitating a deeper comprehension of organizations, finance, inequalities and development. It is a textbook that I will recommend to postgraduate students but also at undergraduate level in introductory disciples of Economics .

Dr Hugo Pinto
Faculty of Economics, University of the Algarves
January 7, 2013
Key features

New to the Second Edition:

  • A timely new chapter on money and finance has been included.
  • References and examples have been edited throughout the book to give it greater contemporary relevance.
  • The introduction and conclusion have been extensively revised to ground this edition in today's ecomony and society.
  • Coverage of globalization has been expanded and incorporated into all substantive chapters, rather than being addressed in a standalone chapter.
  • The chapter on economic development has been completely rewritten to reflect new trends in development economics and the sociology of development.

Features & Benefits:

  • A full introduction and conclusion provide context to the reader.
  • Sociological references throughout urge the reader to view the economy through a sociological lens.

Sample Materials & Chapters


ch 1

ch 4

ch 7

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