Markets as Politics: A Political-Cultural Approach to Market Institutions

  • Fligstein N
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Abstract

I use the metaphor "markets as politics" to create a sociological view of action in markets. I develop a conceptual view of the social institutions that comprise markets, discuss a sociological model of action in which market participants try to create stable worlds andfind social solutions to competition, and discuss how markets and states are intimately linked. From these foundations, I generate propositions about how politics in markets work during various stages of market development-formation, stability, and trans- formation. At the formation of markets, when actors in firms are trying to create a status hierarchy that enforces noncompetitive forms of competition, political action resembles social movements. In stable markets, incumbent firms defend their positions against challengers and invaders. During periods of market transformation, invaders can reintroduce more fluid social-movement-like conditions.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Market institutions
  • Organizational literature
  • Social relations
  • Social world
  • Sociology

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Authors

  • Neil Fligstein

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