Economic sociology is an attempt by sociologists to redefine in sociological terms questions traditionally addressed by economists. It is thus also an answer to attempts by economists to bring economic approaches – in particular utility maximisation and game theory – to the analysis of social situations that are not obviously related to production or trade.
The specific term "economic sociology" was first coined by William Stanley Jevons in 1879, later to be used in the works of Émile Durkheim, Max Weber and Georg Simmel between 1890 and 1920.
1. According toRichard Swedberg, Economic sociology is the study of the social cause and effect of various economic phenomena. It arose as a new approach to the analysis of economic phenomena; emphasizing particularly the role economic structures and institutions play upon society, and the influence a society holds over the nature of economic structures and institutions. (Principles of Economic Sociology by Richard Swedberg – An extract", 2009).
2. According toN. Abercrombie, “Economic sociology is a broad field that covers many substantive economic phenomena. These include: all aspects of the economic activities of individuals and groups; the sociology of organizations, markets and other economic institutions…………and the economic effects of different cultures and religions.” [The penguin Dictionary of Sociology, 2013]
3. Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg define economic sociology as ‘the sociological perspective applied to economic phenomena’ (The handbook of economic sociology. 2nd 2005: 3).
4. According to Emile Durkheim,‘Finally there are three economic institutions: institutions relating to the production of wealth (serfdom, tenant farming, corporate organization, production in factories, in mills, at home, and so on), institutions relating to exchange (commercial organization, markets, stock exchanges, and so on), institutions relating to distribution (rent, interest, salaries, and so on). They form the subject matter of economic sociology.’ [Emile Durkheim, 1978:80, Quoted in R. SwedbergPrinciples of Economic Sociology]
Economic sociology is defined in many ways. We define economic sociology broadly as the study of the social processes of resource creation, distribution,exchange and consumption. Special interests within economic sociology include the study of: business, caring, crime, disability, employment, entrepreneurs, environment, families, food, gambling, gender, health, housing, markets, money, networks, philanthropy, taxation, technology, wealth, and more.
Feature/ subject matter of economic Sociology:
Economic sociology studies both the social effects and the social causes of various economic phenomena. i.It is the study of the social causes and social effects of various economic phenomena. ii.The field of economicsociology can be broadly divided into a classical period and a contemporary period. iii.Contemporary economicsociology emphasizes the social consequences of economic exchanges, the social meanings they involve, and the social interactions that they facilitate or obstruct. In some cases, contemporary economicsociology borrows mathematical tools and economic theories such as utility maximization and game theory. iv.According to Emile Durkheim,the subject matter of economic sociology include,
a.institutions relating to the production of wealth (serfdom, tenant farming, corporate organization, production in factories, in mills, at home, and so on),
b.institutions relating to exchange (commercial organization, markets, stock exchanges, and so on),
c.institutions relating to distribution (rent, interest, salaries, and so on). v.It studies all aspects of the economic activities of individuals and groups; the sociology of organizations, markets and other economic institutions. vi.Consumption and leisure; macro-issues such as the development of capitalism, the comparative analysis of economic systems and the economic effects of different cultures and religions.[The penguin Dictionary of Sociology, 2013]