Recent debates in economic sociology have moved away from a critique to homo economicus to a focus on how market exchange is formalized and abstracted from social relations. Rather than dwell on the disparities between the formalism and the practice of market exchange, the work of Michel Callon and associates focuses on the calculating agencies that enable the creation and operation of markets. This article provides a critical examination of these ideas and argues that they have important implications for marketing theory, namely in terms of a shift from exchange as events to markets as institutions. Rather than regarding marketing practices as operating within pre-defined markets, we argue that marketing practices have a performative role in helping to create the phenomena they purportedly describe.
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