What is economic sociology

Economic sociology

Transfer and application of sociological knowledge to the field of economic life. In particular, it becomes apparent that social structures and processes are embedded in overall societal relationships and can therefore to a certain extent be understood as a section or "subsystem" of society. According to Talcott Parsons, therefore, all economics should actually be viewed as a special sociology. However, economists are far from accepting such a perspective, especially since they are of the opinion that they can offer a much more sophisticated teaching structure in their field than the multi-layered and divided sociology can. The connecting lines between "economy and society" have long been the subject of the sociological "classics": For Karl Marx, the economic base area - here above all the different access to the means of production and the divergence between productive forces and social production relations - is the real engine of the social Power game (—industrial sociology, —industrial conflict). For Emile Durkheim, the division of labor is the most essential aspect of social differentiation. For Max Weber, the interlinking of social and economic conditions is the central issue; In his writings on the sociology of religion, he shows how changed beliefs have influenced the work ethic and the development of the capitalist system (capitalism). For Georg Simmel, the idea of ​​exchange and the exchange medium of money is essential. With this, Simmel already introduces an approach that is now advocated by some sociologists within the framework of the so-called exchange theories and which - according to their claim - would like to design a behavior model that enriches a possibly shortened human image of economic theory with social components. Overall, economic sociology contributes to analyzing the social embedding of economic processes and structures. In this respect, it makes precisely those factors the object of explicit analysis that economists often refer to in the data wreath of their ceterisparibus premises. Since Max Weber, the juxtaposition of "economy and society" has been constitutive for a special kind of program. The analytical focus of this approach is less the question of how the economy functions as an institution and how economic behavior can be explained; rather, it is about the following questions: How is the relationship between the economy and other areas of social life? What role does the economy play in the context of overall social processes? What are the socially relevant dimensions of economic issues? Other "programs" in economic sociology are more behavioral or systems theoretical in nature. At the behavioral level, it is about the particularities of behavior in the economic context. Here, economic sociology makes, among other things. from the "economic approach" (e.g. Coleman) in —Sociology use. In principle, it is a matter of applying an (extended) economic benefit principle to non-economic issues as well. System-theoretical considerations mostly tie in with the classic analysis by Parsons and Smelser, which focuses in particular on the various interdependencies between social and economic subsystems. According to Luhmann, the economy is just like society - an autopoietic system that effects its self-constitution through the communication medium of money. While the last-mentioned considerations seem quite remote from empirical reference points, the individual sub-economic sociologies are more concrete and more application-oriented. The following topics could be mentioned, for example: The various branches of economic sociology are differently well developed. While the sociology of work and occupation (-working sociology, -professional) as well as the -business and organizational sociology already have a long-standing, empirically founded research tradition, industrial sociology - especially under the influence of the Marxist tradition of thought - is extremely controversial and in many forms anti-economic ideologues. The —Market and Consumption Sociology is empirically and theoretically poorly developed, but is currently receiving more attention. Literature: Heinemann, H., Sociology of Economic Action, Opladen 1987. Kutsch, Th./Wiswede, G., Economic Sociology, Stuttgart 1986.

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