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The Architecture of Markets: An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First-Century Capitalist Societies Paperback – 16 Sep 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; New Ed edition (16 Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780691102542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691102542
  • ASIN: 0691102546
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 543,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Winner of the 2003 Distinguished Book Award

"Until the appearance of Fligstein's new book . . . no one has attempted to integrate economic sociology into a coherent, consistent, and comprehensive approach for the study of market capitalism. This book, therefore, sets a standard for other books that will follow in the coming decades. By all measures, it is an impressive book that deserves careful reading by everyone interested in the analysis of capitalist economies."--Gary G. Hamilton, American Journal of Sociology

"This is an important book. It . . . will undoubtedly redirect research
attention and encourage new work on the rules and politics that structure market relations. This book pushes us forward and suggests a rich vein waiting to be mined."--Mitchel Y. Abolafia, Administrative Science Quarterly

From the Back Cover

"The Architecture of Markets is superb. It is timely in setting an agenda and a framing for a new and newly coherent economic sociology. The writing is lucid, the assessments are penetrating and judicious, open-minded with respect to other disciplines and perspectives, yet hard-hitting on the major points."--Harrison White, Columbia University

"Neil Fligstein has produced a major and innovative contribution to economic sociology; he has created an exciting theory about how markets will behave, and this theory will no doubt be discussed quite a bit in the coming years. This book represents the first attempt in contemporary economic sociology to produce a full . . . analysis of the economy."--Richard Swedberg, Stockholm University

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
MARKET SOCIETY has produced more income, wealth, goods, and services than any other form of human social organization. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a sociology graduate who works with lots of economists, I thought this would be a good counter-balance to their rational model of how markets work. In theory it is. Fligstein's hypothesis is sound: - there are more institutional structures in markets than can be explained by economics; markets are as much social as economic institutions; and the principal motive of market participants is the drive for stability not profit maximisation. So far so good, but that's only enough for an article. Expanding it into a book makes a few interesting ideas into a lot of long-winded tedium. He doesn't have enough examples and the case studies he uses are too superficial - as if he'd done his research from newspapers. If this is the leading work on the sociology of markets, sociology is selling itself short.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The market as a social field 17 Aug. 2002
By Suckwoo Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Over past decades, what has bestowed the identity on economic sociology is the shared hostility to neoclassical economics. But besides it, unfortunately, they have agreed on nothing. And worse, economists simply pass over their arguments. They are no more than fusses about nothing. The reason is simple: there are no potent enough alternatives in sociological camp. Fligstein argues that this is because sociological approaches lack a organizing frame to explain economic processes as generic social processes. To make it effective, there should be a simple and powerful enough theoretical frame. Offering such an approach is what Fligstein intends with this book.
Economic action takes place in the market. Fligstein holds that there is no reason to treat the market differently. Social action takes place in organized social space, or field in Bourdieu¡¯s term. Fields is the space where one try to dominate others. But the domination in that space is systemized and routinized. It defines local relations between actors. Once in place, the interactions in fields become ¡®games¡¯ where groups in filed who have more power use the acceptable rules to reproduce their power: the domination system is institutionalized. This process makes action in fields inherently political. Studying field is about opening of new social space, how it becomes and remains stable (become a field), and the forces that transform fields.
Fligstein replaces profit-maximizing actor with one who takes care of the survival of their firm. Managers and owners are trying enhance the survival of the firm by reducing the uncertainties they face in the market. Managing uncertain environment is a sizable task. It¡¯s about the search for stable and predictable interactions with competitors, suppliers, and workers. Relationship between seller and buyer is fleeting. Stability in the market lies in the relationship between sellers, then. Relationships between them delineate the market as a field. The social relations are oriented toward maintaining the advantage of largest seller firms in the face of their challengers. They define how the market works and how competition is structured. Although the firms compete, they have produced an equilibrium whereby they survive by following the accepted tactics of competition. As forms of social relation, market systems involve both shared understanding and concrete social relations. The shared understandings structure the interactions between competitors but also allow actors to make sense of their competitors actions. There are four types of rules relevant to producing social structure in markets: property rights, governance structures, rules of exchange, and conception of control. These categories are the essential analytic tools in Fligstein¡¯s approach. They enable researcher to dissect empirically. But definition and details are intricate to propose here. I¡¯ll skip it.
Part I of this book sketch out the theoretical outline of Fligstein¡¯s approach. Part II support it with case studies of labor market, corporate governance, and globalization. On the whole, this book is readable and persuasive. Points are clear, lines are easy to follow. In my opinion, it¡¯s a breakthrough in economic sociology.
17 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Not very revealing 18 Dec. 2003
By C. Ammons - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I had high hopes for this book.
It really let me down.
As I read through the book I kept saying "duh" to myself. Unless you are a conservative with a fantasticailly naive ideal of capitalism wherein business acts perfectly rationally and only to maximize profit, there is little to be gained from this book. Anyone with a basic knowledge of the realities of capitlism will not be learning much that wasn't already known - though they may lack the terminology and rigor of his sociological definitions.
There is an interesting chapter near the end about how the ideology of corporate control has changed, and with it how corporations have functioned. This is the only real chapter that I found interesting.
The last chapter of the book is a weak defense of globalization. His "political-cultural approach" fails to offer any explanation for why the economy has undergone so many significant changes in the past twenty five years. He defines the amount of "globalization" as the amount of trade flows across borders and then insists that globalization has not caused an increase in inequality because Japan and Europe, who are less dependent on foreign trade than America have not suffered the same increase in inequality!
look for a better book.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
It is a good book. 12 Dec. 2012
By SAVEONLINE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recommend this book especially to those sociologists that moving away from Marxism and toward capitalism. You will definitely love the book, especially if your perspective is Weberian, in philosophy.
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