2002 - Volume 43 > Numéro 3

ISSN 0035-2969

The Nouvelle Sociologie Économique [New Economic Sociology] and market cohesion : from personal relations to the impersonality of relations

pp. 521-556


The revival of economic sociology is based on the reassertion of the social dimension of economic action on the premise that the latter is always situated socially. Unlike assumptions of standard micro-economics, an economic exchange is never independent of person-to-person relations or of extra-economic factors. In this case it’s still part of society. This article, while recognizing the contributions coming from the New Economic Sociology (NES), offers a discussion on these assumptions by questioning the way in which the NES conceptualizes the boundary between the social and the non-social part of market exchanges. This work demonstrates that the NES, while adhering essentially to the characteristics of « primary » socialization of the market, offers an « intimist » vision of social cohesion which prevents it from considering the complete sociological specificity of the market cohesion. In view of taking advantage of this specificity, with a microsociological reading of Simmelian analyses of reciprocal action and recent ethnographical approaches of market cohesion, it is possible to re-imagine the elementary forms of social cohesion by insisting on the « secondary » socialization of the market. This critical reflection leads to the outlining of a research programme aiming to report on the operating conditions of the most ordinary modern economic life and based on « purely » market relations.



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