Economic Sociology: Globalization, Annotated Bibliography Example

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Annotated Bibliography

Dugin, Alexander. 2012. The Fourth Political Theory. London: Arktos.

In this work Dugin, a professor at Moscow State University, introduces what what he terms a “fourth political theory”, which he juxtaposes to the three dominant political theories of the last centuries (in historical order): 1) liberalism, 2) communism, 3) fascism. Dugin interprets the ubiquity of liberalism in today’s world as a sign that it has emerged as the “victorious” political ideology, controlling how we think about politics, economics as well as globalization. Dugin’s work is of high interest in terms of its criticism of liberalism and neoliberal globalization, in particular regarding its hostility to diverse forms of social life and organization. Liberalism, according to the author, in so far as it is based on notions of the individual and of the free market, is an aggressive political ideology, since any ideologies that do not emphasize these points are antagonistic to the growth of liberalism. Traditional forms of life which, for example, de-emphasize individual in favor of community and place importance on religion and the sacred instead of the material and the economic are threatened by this form of globalization. Dugin thus challenges the reader to think of an alternative to the dominance of liberalism, primarily through a critique of liberalism. The work is above all valuable in this regard: it exposes the destructive and hegemonic tendencies of the world’s dominant ideology.

Swedberg, Richard. Principles of Economic Sociology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

As the author explicitly states at the outset, the text is intended as an introduction to economic sociology. Swedberg gives a broad definition of economic sociology, understanding it to entail the analysis of economics through traditional sociological concepts. This fairly broad definition is valid, since it does not exclude any possible developments of the field with too narrow a definition. The structure of the book fleshes out this basic definition. Swedberg gives the reader the “classical” texts of economic sociology, as well as a view into contemporary investigations. This provides an invaluable summary of the field as well as anticipating future mutations in the subject. Swedberg thus provides an easily digestible summary of the current “tool kit” employed by economic sociologists, which can be used as a theoretical framework with which to develop interpretations of phenomenon such as globalization.

Portes, Alejandro. Economic Sociology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010.

Portes’ work provides a view on economic sociology that is at once critical and constructive. The author contends that there are fundamental blind spots in current theory of economic sociology. Portes conceives of economic sociology as consisting of three basic elements: “meta-theoretical principles” (1), which mean the broader and general worldview that selects which phenomena are examined; “explanatory mechanisms” (1), which then attempt to define these phenomena, and “strategic sites of inquiry” (1), the more specific areas of investigation in the field. Portes feels that the current literature has conflated these areas, while he encourages their distinction. This is a valuable work because it helps clarify the methodology of economic sociology, separating different categories, so as to potentially yield more rigorous and robust conclusions. Portes in other words identifies some of the presuppositions that may exist in standard methodological approaches in the field.

Tonkiss, Fran. Contemporary Economic Sociology: Globalisation, Production, Inequality. London: Routledge, 2006.

Tonkiss summarizes the sociological approaches to understanding globalization and capitalism. Tonkiss suggests that the link between globalization and capitalism overlooks fundamental elements of this ideology, such as class and inequality. In other words, globalization in its capitalist form cannot respond to a fundamental sociological concept such as class inequality precisely because the concept of inequality is irrelevant to capitalism in an ethical sense. Accordingly, globalized capitalism lacks a clear commitment to social justice. Tonkiss thus provides us with a viewpoint which can advance more critical approaches to the current dominant form of globalization ideology.

Hass, Jeffry K. Economic Sociology: An Introduction. London: Routledge,

The book, as the title indicates, provides an introduction to economic sociology with a summary of all the key areas of the theme. Of particular interest is the general approach Hass takes to the subject: economic sociology is a certain reaction to shortcomings in economic theory. Namely, economic theory only refers to economics to make its claims: economic sociology is a counter-view that says economy cannot explain itself. There are also social factors inherent to economic sociology. For Hass, this can provide a critical viewpoint with which for example to criticize social and political ideologies, such as capitalism, that are dominated by economics, thus showing that the relationship here is not that economics determines the social, but also that the social can be viewed as determining economics.

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