Our lives have gradually become dominated by markets. They are not only at the heart of capitalistic economies all over the world, but also central in public debates. This insightful book brings together existing knowledge on markets from sociology, economics and anthropology, and systematically investigates the different forms of markets we encounter daily in our social lives.
Aspers starts by defining what a market actually is, analyzing its essential elements as well as its necessary preconditions and varied consequences. An important theme in the book is that a whole host of markets are embedded within one other and in social life at large, and Aspers discusses these in the context of other forms of economic coordination, such as networks and organizations. Combining theory with empirical examples, the book cuts to the core of understanding how different markets function, the role they have played in history, and how they come into being.
This accessible and theoretically rich book will be essential reading for upper-level students seeking to make sense of markets and their complex role in social life.