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Editors: Stan Metcalfe and Alan Warde

There has been increasing interest and debate in recent years on the instituted nature of economic processes in general and the related ideas of the market and the competitive process in particular. This debate lies at the interface between two largely independent disciplines, economics and sociology, and reflects an attempt to bring the two fields of discourse more closely together. This book explores this interface in a number of ways, looking at the competitive process and market relations from a number of different perspectives. It considers the social role of economic institutions in society and examines the various meanings embedded in the word 'markets', as well as developing arguments on the nature of competition as an instituted economic process. The close of the twentieth century saw a virtual canonisation of markets as the best, indeed the only really effective, way to govern an economic system. The market organisation being canonised was simple and pure, along the lines of the standard textbook model in economics. The book discusses the concepts of polysemy , idealism, cognition, materiality and cultural economy. Michael Best provides an account of regional economic adaptation to changed market circumstances. This is the story of the dynamics of capitalism focused on the resurgence of the Route 128 region around Boston following its decline in the mid-1980s in the face of competition from Silicon Valley. The book also addresses the question of how this resurgence was achieved.

Constituting the cultural economy
Fran Tonkiss

seriously within the study of economic organisation – not simply in terms of seeing culture as a kind of ‘padding’ for economic activity, but as a sector of production, distribution and consumption involving distinctive organisational forms, market relations and competitive logics. Secondly, within the cultural field market actors, market segments and market commodities are constituted in innovative and often unstable ways. Thirdly, contemporary cultural industries are subject to a highly variable mix of markets, firms and networks as means of shaping economic processes

in Market relations and the competitive process
Open Access (free)
Stan Metcalfe and Alan Warde

role of information and knowledge in the dynamics of the market process; social consequences of market relations; and, finally, the relationship between markets and competition. Markets as institutions The idea of markets as institutions, as habits, rules of social behaviour, is of course not new. Yet, implications of this point await their full development in terms of distinguishing between the market framework in general and markets in particular, and in distinguishing between the rules of the game at a point in time and the generative processes through which those

in Market relations and the competitive process
Open Access (free)
Stan Metcalfe and Alan Warde

coming to mirror theory through the policy and practice of the powerful. We would not go so far as to say that the discourse of the virtuous market has created the institutional forms that it (mis)describes. Nevertheless, there are many potential ways in which the attribution of positive functions to market relations would affect understandings of reality and thus economic, political and social action. What we find most striking is the extent to which the market is considered to be without stain in the current period. Unparalleled, if not entirely unprecedented

in Market relations and the competitive process
Open Access (free)
In pursuit of influence and legitimacy
Finn Laursen

through the Foreign Ministry to ensure that Denmark gets as much influence in Brussels as possible. So there are both consensus and efficiency considerations behind the organisational set-up. The role of parliament: towards transparency Since the very beginning of Danish membership of the EC in 1973 the Folketing has exercised more control over European policy than any other national parliament in the EC/EU.14 A Market Relations Committee (markedsudvalg) was established in 1972. From the spring of 1973 a system developed which in reality included the issuing of binding

in Fifteen into one?
Don Slater

from a world of relatively stable material cultures and market relations (in which, despite innovation, manufacturers could think in terms of relatively self-evident object categories) to a world of increasingly unstable material cultures and market relations. One symptomatic management and marketing term that responded to this situation is the ‘product concept’ or ‘product definition’, along with cognate terms such as differentiation, segmentation, positioning and market ‘gaps’ that related destabilised, problematic goods to equally unstable competitive

in Market relations and the competitive process
Martin McIvor

collective economic control through centralised planning certainly proved unable to either meet people’s developing material needs or meaningfully actualise the impulse to economic self-government that lay behind its initial formulation. More partial ‘social democratic’ variants, which left significant domains of market relations and private ownership in place but sought to correct their tendency to centralise social and economic power through measures of partial decommodification, corporate representation and selective socialisation, also stand accused of depressing

in In search of social democracy
Open Access (free)
Tony Fitzpatrick

universalism (to which they are not necessarily opposed) can be embodied in market relations, because markets treat everyone the same. Conversely, some on the Left have been critical of universalism in theory, but not necessarily in practice. They allege that universalism has either neglected or even suppressed a spectrum of social identities, categorical boundaries and cultural boundaries by implicitly treating white, heterosexual, able-bodied men as the normative ideal (Butler, 1990). This does not mean that universal services should be abandoned, merely that universality

in After the new social democracy
Open Access (free)
Some key issues in understanding its competitive production and regulation
Terry Marsden

the market. Product differentiation implies the construction of transparent market relations around specific sets of quality definitions that are shared by all parties involved, and are sufficiently translated to convince consumers to pay premium prices. When looking at the empirical variety of SFSCs, two main categories of quality definitions may be distinguished, as shown in figure 6.2. The first category of SFSCs stresses mainly the link between quality attributes of the product and its place of production or producer. Specific characteristics of the place of

in Qualities of food
Mark Harvey

concept of ‘instituted economic process’ with the other and more widely adopted Polanyan legacy of ‘embeddedness’, the chapter explores competition as an instituted economic process in five dimensions: the co-institution of competitive processes and markets; relations of power and mutual dependence between classes of economic agent; the formation of units of competition; the formation of scales of competition; and the development of formal and informal norms of competition. The chapter then provides an exemplification of this analytical framework through a schematic

in Market relations and the competitive process