Wie entstehen Märkte? Ein Vergleich idealtypischer Erklärungsansätze in Ökonomie und Wirtschaftssoziologie

Translated title of the contribution: How Do Markets Emerge?: A Comparison of Ideal-typical Explanations in Economics and Economic Sociology

Patrik Aspers*, Petter Bengtsson, Alexander Dobeson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The question of how markets emerge has gained comparatively little attention in economic theory. As the paper demonstrates, the dominant patterns of explanation can be distinguished into three groups, each of which representing an ideal-typical approach regarding market fashioning: mutual adjustment, organization, and fields. Whereas theories of mutual adjustment assume markets to emerge in a “natural” manner from market actors’ mutual orientation, theories of organization focus on the deliberate design of relevant institutions by the state and equivalent actors. Field theories of Bourdieu and Fligstein center on how processes of markets emerging are embedded into contexts, yet do not provide a genuine explanation of these processes in a narrower sense. Comparing the relevant literature permits identifying which processes each pattern serves to explain empirically. While mutual adjustment applies to undesigned processes and markets characterized by a vastly differentiated set of products, organization as a phenomenon can be found primarily in “framed” markets for standardized products and in the securities market. Social field theories address the overarching social contexts and power struggles concerning markets as political and cultural structures. Based on these observations, the paper argues for an integrating perspective which benefits from the advantages of each approach but rejects being pinned down to one single paradigm.
Translated title of the contributionHow Do Markets Emerge?: A Comparison of Ideal-typical Explanations in Economics and Economic Sociology
Original languageGerman
JournalBerliner Journal für Soziologie
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)533-562
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Wirtschaftssoziologie
  • Gesellschaftsordnung
  • Märkte
  • Marktplätze
  • Wechselseitige Anpassung
  • Organisation
  • Allgemeine Feldtheorie
  • Economic sociology
  • Social order
  • Markets
  • Market places
  • Mutual adjustment
  • Organization
  • General field theory
  • Sociologie économique
  • Ordre social
  • Marchés
  • Reconnaissance réciproque
  • Théorie générale des champs

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