Disembedded Markets: Economic Theology and Global Capitalism, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Disembedded Markets

Economic Theology and Global Capitalism, 1st Edition

By Christoph Deutschmann


150 pages

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Hardback: 9781138614024
pub: 2019-02-28
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This book offers a sociological analysis of globalised capitalist markets, advancing the notion of ‘disembedded markets’ to challenge the idea of ‘social embeddedness’ common in economic sociology. Avoiding an exclusive focus on institutions, networks and trust relationships surrounding markets, the author concentrates on private property as the key institution of markets, in order to emphasise the historical origins of modern capitalism the free market narrative, and develop a socio-historical analysis of the disembedding process together with an account of the built-in contradictions and limits of market universalisation. Through an analysis of their encompassing character, this volume demonstrates that disembedded markets do not fit standard theoretical accounts of sociality – a problem taken up not only by Karl Marx, but also by Friedrich August von Hayek and Niklas Luhmann – and questions the attempts of the emerging approach of ‘economic theology’ to draw parallels between the practices that arise from disembedded markets and from forms of religious experience and ritual. A rigorous examination of the phenomenon of disembedded markets and the claims to which they give rise concerning the equivalences between religion and capitalism, this book will appeal to scholars of sociology and economics with interests in capitalism, social theory, and global markets.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Disembedded markets and society: Ambiguities in Polanyi’s analysis

3. Markets as a social system: The liberal narrative

4. Dimensions of disembedding

5. Religion as a self-representation of society

6. Modernity, capitalism and religion

7. Disembedding and the dilemma of self-representation of society

8. Markets as an ultimate social reality?

9. A multilevel model of capitalist dynamics

10. Conclusions

About the Author

Christoph Deutschmann is Professor Emeritus and former Chair of Sociology at the University of Tübingen, Germany. He has worked as a research fellow at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt/M, at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, and at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center for Social Research in. His research interests and publications are in the fields of economic sociology, the sociology of work, and social theory.

About the Series

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory
Classical and Contemporary Social Theory publishes rigorous scholarly work that re-discovers the relevance of social theory for contemporary times, demonstrating the enduring importance of theory for modern social issues. The series covers social theory in a broad sense, inviting contributions on both 'classical' and modern theory, thus encompassing sociology, without being confined to a single discipline. As such, work from across the social sciences is welcome, provided that volumes address the social context of particular issues, subjects, or figures and offer new understandings of social reality and the contribution of a theorist or school to our understanding of it. The series considers significant new appraisals of established thinkers or schools, comparative works or contributions that discuss a particular social issue or phenomenon in relation to the work of specific theorists or theoretical approaches. Contributions are welcome that assess broad strands of thought within certain schools or across the work of a number of thinkers, but always with an eye toward contributing to contemporary understandings of social issues and contexts.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General