The last fifteen years have witnessed an explosion in the popularity, creativity, and productiveness of economic sociology, an approach that traces its roots back to Max Weber. This important new text offers a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of economic sociology. It also advances the field theoretically by highlighting, in one analysis, the crucial economic roles of both interests and social relations.
Richard Swedberg describes the field’s critical insights into economic life, giving particular attention to the effects of culture on economic phenomena and the ways that economic actions are embedded in social structures. He examines the full range of economic institutions and explicates the relationship of the economy to politics, law, culture, and gender. Swedberg notes that sociologists too often fail to properly emphasize the role that self-interested behavior plays in economic decisions, while economists frequently underestimate the importance of social relations. Thus, he argues that the next major task for economic sociology is to develop a theoretical and empirical understanding of how interests and social relations work in combination to affect economic action. Written by an author whose name is synonymous with economic sociology, this text constitutes a sorely needed advanced synthesis–and a blueprint for the future of this burgeoning field.