Economic Ordering for Multiple Values
Edited by Susi Geiger, Debbie Harrison, Hans Kjellberg and Alexandre Mallard
Chapter 5: Engaging diverging interests through pricing: the case of maize for bioenergy production in Germany
Markets are the result of ongoing efforts and activities by various actors to organize the exchange of goods. Within these efforts and activities the actors associate different and changing values and interests that should be realized within the organized market. These interests are not just about selling or buying a good with a specific value; the interests are also related to the issue of how the market orders goods, its design or its architecture (Callon, 1998a; 2007). As a consequence, markets can be seen as ‘political projects’ that are characterized by the struggle between different market actors to control the market (Fligstein, 1996; 2001). Related to different interests, multiple forms of market can be realized (see Kjellberg and Helgesson, 2006). One product of the conflicts of interest and the struggle between firms is, referring to Weber (1978), the monetary price. It can be argued that in the process of forming a price actors are taking part in realizing the political project of a market, that is, the political interests of the acting firms emerge in the form of prices. To do this, different modes of engagement exist, one of which is situated in the performance of exchange (Kjellberg and Helgesson, 2010). Prices do not emerge mysteriously from ‘the market’ but they are ‘constructed by the actors involved in the exchange’ (White and Eccles, 1987, p. 985). From this point of view, the actors have to agree on a price to shape the exchange related to one or more specific interests.
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