This article reviews three recent books - one Australian, one European and one American - in order to reflect on the current state of play in economic sociology. Economic sociology is a fast-growing field of research in the US, and to a lesser extent in Europe, but it has barely registered in Australia. This is partly a reflection of the fact that economic sociology draws some of its inspiration from 'new economy' industries that are weak in Australia. It also reflects the influence of the Marxist tradition in Australia, focusing mainly on the state as a countervailing force to markets. The upshot is that the market is both a constant point of reference in sociological research, but also a 'black box' beyond social inquiry. The new economic sociology, in contrast, focuses upon the constitutive role of social institutions in relation to markets. It suggests promising new lines of inquiry in the Australian context.
- Economic sociology
- Political economy