Mark Harvey
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Markets, supermarkets and the macro-social shaping of demand
An instituted economic process approach
in Innovation by demand

This chapter argues for the need to build an economic sociology/political economy of demand that goes from micro-individual through to macro-structural features. It develops an ‘instituted economic process’ approach to the study of demand and innovation to account for processes of institutionalisation and deinstitutionalisation. Within this framework, the concept of a ‘production—distribution—retail—consumption’ configuration is seen as shaping innovation. The empirical investigations of this chapter involve analysis of how retail markets link demand with supply, and how that link is a structured one: the interface facing both ways. The chapter explores three empirical cases. The first involves the near disappearance of wholesale markets for fresh fruit and vegetables to retail markets, and the particular questions raised in terms of range and quality of products that flow through them. The second deals with an equally significant reconfiguration of the retail—distribution—production configuration reflected in the emergence of supermarket own-label products. The third raises the question of how the organisation of retail markets, and their transformation, alters the way demand is instituted between end consumers and retailers.

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Innovation by demand

An interdisciplinary approach to the study of demand and its role in innovation


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