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 4: Concerns and marketization: the case of sustainable palm oil

Simona D’Antone and Robert Spencer

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


Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? [. . .] What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. (Friedman, 1979) This chapter investigates the integration of concerns into contemporary markets and the influence of this integration on the way markets organize. Our considerations relate to two main aspects: first, the interplay between markets and values; and second, the processes of marketization, or the emergence, development and shaping of a market. In terms of the first aspect, a well-worn philosophical and sociological debate speculates as to whether markets improve society, tend to corrupt it or are influenced, in turn, by the social order in which they develop (Hirschman, 1982). The discussion seems to find an answer with the realist turn in social studies which no longer considers markets and order of values as two separate realities, but rather defines markets as intensely ‘moralized and moralizing entities’ (Fourcade and Healy, 2007, p. 286). This idea is consistent with Latour (2004) calling for recognition of the idea that facts cannot be disentangled from the concerns animating and constructing the social realm. There are many examples of markets intertwining values and economic value, for example biotechnologies and genetics, nanotechnologies, sustainable and environmental productions and energies.

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