Traditional economics treats the defining subjective properties of economic agents (tastes, preferences, demands, goals and perceptions) as if they are determined independently of individual and collective relations with other agents. This collection of essays reflects the increasingly common view that economics cannot continue to disregard all economic phenomena inconsistent with this conception.
The volume is especially concerned with the idea of intersubjective influences on market outcomes. A team of expert international contributors have been brought together to address the question of intersubjectivity from a variety of perspectives. Using methods of description and analysis they explore the structures and effects of concrete interdependencies between individual subjectivities engaged in economic activity, and develop conceptual and analytical tools for this task. Many of the essays are interdisciplinary in scope and in addition to economics the book should provide valuable lessons in psychology, sociology, social theory, philosophy, political science and history.
Social Theory is experiencing something of a revival within economics. Critical analyses of the particular nature of the subject matter of social studies and of the types of method, categories and modes of explanation that can legitimately be endorsed for the scientific study of social objects, are re-emerging. Economists are again addressing such issues as the relationship between agency and structure, between economy and the rest of society, and between the enquirer and the object of enquiry. There is a renewed interest in elaborating basic categories such as causation, competition, culture, discrimination, evolution, money, need, order, organization, power probability, process, rationality, technology, time, truth, uncertainty, value etc.
The objective for this series is to facilitate this revival further. In contemporary economics the label “theory” has been appropriated by a group that confines itself to largely asocial, ahistorical, mathematical “modelling”. Economics as Social Theory thus reclaims the “Theory” label, offering a platform for alternative rigorous, but broader and more critical conceptions of theorizing.