Chapter 9: Moral economy: moral forces in economic activity
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This chapter argues that the ‘moral economy’ concept can contribute to our understanding of the relation between morality and economy in economic sociology. The benefits of the concept are twofold: First, it allows scholars to conceptualize the relationship between morality and economic action not only on the level of single markets, as is common in economic sociology, but also with regard to the larger institutional architecture of capitalist societies. Second, while many economic sociology studies tend to focus on the role of morality for the functioning of markets, the moral economy perspective allows for the consideration of the potentially conflictual relationship between morality and economy. We discuss exemplary studies from the moral economy perspective in four substantive areas - transitions to capitalism, welfare regimes and the moral economy of (re)distribution, commodification and taboo markets, and collective agency - in order to flesh out these ideas.

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