Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume III
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Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume III

Developments in Major Fields of Economics

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Volume III contains entries on the development of major fields in economics from the inception of systematic analysis until modern times. The reader is provided with succinct summary accounts of the main problems, the methods used to address them and the results obtained across time. The emphasis is on both the continuity and the major changes that have occurred in the economic analysis of problematic issues such as economic growth, income distribution, employment, inflation, business cycles and financial instability. Each Handbook can be read individually and acts as a self-contained volume in its own right. It can be purchased separately or as part of a three-volume set.
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Chapter 12: Economic sociology

Philippe Steiner


Economic sociology is the study of economic activity considered as a set of social events related to other dimensions of social life, such as family, gender, morals, law, and politics. The history of economic sociology is deeply intertwined with the history of political economy, as a scientific endeavour and as an academic discipline. When the social sciences were not divided into separate provinces and disciplines were not institutionalized, there was no reason for an “economic sociology” to exist. Accordingly, one finds a mix of economic and sociological approaches – as we now understand these domains – within the work of major economists of the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, the ongoing process of specialization within the social sciences changed the situation toward the end of the nineteenth century and then economic sociology began to appear explicitly, either as a sub-discipline of political economy or as a challenge to economics. This tension remains after more than a century of difficult and sometimes fruitful relations between economists and sociologists.

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