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Abstract

In the past 20 years, scholars in anthropology, geography and sociology have been challenging the neo-classical economists view of markets in society. After discussing the aforementioned disciplines dissatisfaction with overreliance on rational and efficient markets, this paper presents five arguments against the economic view of markets while accepting the continued use of markets. The five arguments are: (1) the Marxian approach to markets and crises along with the Hyman Minsky approach of increasing cyclical pressure to take risks, (2) the rise of Karl Polanyi’s view that markets are fragile and that they need the state to embed them; (3) organizational scholars including Neil Fligstein focusing on organizations creating a ‘conception of control’ whereby the market is shaped by their elite interests; (4) a complex decision-making approach starting with Max Weber’s view of social action being based on rationalities, traditions and emotions, which is then combined with Edward Fischer’s cultural approach to prices, quality, and the environment; and (5) a macro-application of social exchange theory to unequal bargaining power in the market.

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