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 10: Concerned markets: facing the future, beyond ‘interested’ and ‘contested’ markets

Franck Cochoy

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


Let’s start from a self-evident truth: talking about ‘concerned markets’ necessarily amounts to proposing a new type of market. Doing so reminds us that, since Adam Smith, the market has been the subject of a strong tension between its singular and plural forms. Economics worked hard to define the market as a unique, homogeneous, nature-like entity (Latour, 2014). But since then social scientists, marketing scholars and ordinary actors have never ceased to insist on the plural dimension of real markets, that is ‘marketplaces’ as local, empirical spaces and interfaces where goods and services can be exchanged for a payment. On the one (invisible!) hand, we have ‘The market’, as a universal, ahistorical and abstract exchange mechanism; on the other (visible (Chandler, 1977)!) hand(s) we have several markets, innumerable markets, too many markets for them to be named (industrial and consumer markets; markets for cars (Kjellberg, 2012), markets for love (Kessous, 2012), markets for. . . everything). However, and as this book nicely demonstrates, concerned markets are much more than just another type to be added to the list. Contrary to all the other forms of markets, concerned markets are defined neither by a particular type of good or service nor by the refusal of the market institution; concerned markets rather point to all kinds of markets and the concerns which may arise from them or about them.

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