By Milan Zafirovski
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Additional resources for Exchange, Action, and Social Structure: Elements of Economic Sociology (Contributions in Sociology)
Thus, in contrast to “unsympathetic isolation abstractly assumed in Economics” (Edgeworth 1967:12) and the resulting view of the economy as an “isolated instantiation” of society (Fararo 1993), the procedure is premised on the conception of the social construction and structuration (embeddedness) of economic behavior in general and exchange in particular, including both interorganizational and consumer transactions. Thus, such grounding treats exchange transactions as total social phenomena1 insofar as the circumstance that actors resort to these transactions is far from being a simple economic fact (Simmel 1990:54).
Weber’s historical observations are particularly pertinent in this regard. , military, political, moral, traditional, religious, and magical) factors. Alongside economists and economic historians, Weber and other classical sociologists such as Durkheim and Marx were concerned with the social conditions of recurrent changes in exchange (business cycles or economic crises). For example, Weber (1927) made various historical observations on these phenomena, including the Tulip craze in early capitalist Holland, as probably the ﬁrst example of a business or trade cycle, offering theoretical explanations of their causes and effects.
Thus, as reported by Marshall6 (1961:109–10), investigating historical consumption patterns in England, Sir Giffen (a nineteenth-century British aristocrat) ﬁrst observed that in some situations the rise of the price of goods of ﬁrst necessity, such as cereals, bread, or salt, did not cause the demand for them to fall but rather to increase, which implies a positively sloping demand curve. ”) From the stance of the law of supply and demand, this tendency implying a positively sloping demand curve is clearly paradoxical or anomalous, as the law postulates exactly the opposite.