Concerned Markets

Concerned Markets

Economic Ordering for Multiple Values

Edited by Susi Geiger, Debbie Harrison, Hans Kjellberg and Alexandre Mallard

When political, social, technological and economic interests, values, and perspectives interact, market order and performance become contentious issues of debate. Such ‘hot’ situations are becoming increasingly common and make for rich sites of research. With expert empirical contributions investigating the organization of such ‘concerned’ markets, this book is positioned at the centre of the rapidly growing area of interdisciplinary market studies. Markets investigated include those for palm oil, primary health care and functional foods. The authors also examine markets and environmental concerns as well as better market design for those at the bottom of the pyramid.

Chapter 1: Being concerned about markets

Susi Geiger, Debbie Harrison, Hans Kjellberg and Alexandre Mallard

Subjects: business and management, marketing, organisation studies, economics and finance, institutional economics, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Building markets is one of the most ordinary ways to produce society. This assertion seems both obvious and controversial. It is obvious because it quite simply accounts for what we see all around us, namely the pervasiveness of economic logic in the domain of social life. The situations in which market transactions intervene in our relationships with other people and in the course of our everyday activities multiply: shopping in malls, city centres or online is an ordinary leisure activity; students are increasingly advised to consider university education as an investment decision and universities compete by demonstrating the pay-off of a degree in salary terms; our personal conversations on social network platforms fuel the constitution of marketing databases; professional sports clubs increasingly resemble multinational companies; dinner conversation over organ donation markets or whether and how surrogate mothers should be paid for their services are commonplace; and health care issues have moved into lifestyle and technology markets, to name but a few examples. But the assertion is also controversial. This is because to a large extent the economy and society are still considered as two complementary but nonetheless different dimensions of human affairs.