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While the superiority of capitalism as an economic system and growth machine has fascinated economists for centuries, this has not been the case with sociologists, who have mainly been concerned with its social consequences. In this article an effort is made to present an agenda for a sociological study of the economic institutions that make up capitalism that can be called an economic sociology of capitalism. The 'economic' in this approach comes from the emphasis on the economic dimension of capitalism; and the 'sociology' from the way this economic dimension should be studied. The analytical point of departure for an economic sociology of capitalism consists of the proposition that interests drive the actions of the individuals, and that interests come together in a very specific'”and social'”way that we call 'capitalism'. This study is devoted to an attempt to spell out what it would mean for economic sociology to set this model of capitalism at its center. It is clear, for one thing, that this would have important consequences for what will then be seen as the central task of economic sociology'”namely, to produce studies of production, distribution, consumption and profit-making. Added to this are the following three topics: the impact on the economic process by law, politics and culture. For all of these latter topics it is imperative to investigate how they can speed up, slow down or block economic growth.

Richard Swedberg
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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