I am an economic sociologist interested in money (not so much in making it, but I accept donations). I subscribe to the view that capitalism is an inherently conflictual system, that capitalist conflict is always moralized, and that markets are the sworn enemy of capitalists. I teach in the Department of Sociology at the University of Virginia, where I have been since getting a PhD from UPenn in 2008.
welcome to my homepage.
What are the sources of modern social order? Yingyao Wang (Brown) and I recently wrote a contribution for the Handbook of Contemporary Sociological Theory where we dissect the issue of power at three levels of analysis in descending order: macro, meso, and micro. While existing theories of power either treat power as a causal force originating within macro entities, or as an exercise in leveraging and positioning within micro-level social relationships, this chapter probes power dynamics at the organizational level. It first of all describes historically how organizations became the major avenue in which power is mediated and regulated in our present social world. It contends that organizational rules, routines, differentiation, and depersonalization obscure power discretions and reduce the perception of domination. Yet, the pluralistic and generative logic of power production in organizations also create unexpected opportunities of innovation and empowerment. By drawing attention to the distinctive forms and nature of power relations at this meso-level, the chapter finally extends power analysis from the macro and micro-level to analytical interactions among all three levels of analyses. Power flows both upwards and downwards, we argue, so that the interaction and conversion of different forms of power at different levels can generate new sets of emergent and interstitial structures and relations. Interested? Email me and I will send you a copy of the chapter.
Why does the Efficient Market Hypothesis win out over competing ways of modeling financial markets? Answering this question requires an understanding of how creativity, collaboration, and communication work within the field of financial economics. Here's one possible way of looking at it.
Tognato's dramaturgical theory dramatically enhances (no pun intended) our understanding of the macro-determinants of economic behavior. This is an excellent contribution to economic sociology.
For a short (about 10 minutes) interview on Conservatives Versus Wildcats, aired on April 25th, click here. The quality of the questions was impressive!
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This appeared last week on UVa Today. Enjoy!
In this paper, I use an original dataset of 95 prestigious financial theorists to assess the relative strengths/weaknesses of performative approaches to finance economics. Find it here. And here's an abstract:
Constructing Financial Innovations: Performativity and Prestige in Financial EconomicsThis paper investigates the diffusion of financially innovative ideas, not by looking at the spread of individual financial practices, but rather by analyzing the intellectual realm where such ideas acquire prestige: financial economics. Using a dataset of 95 financial theorists, it shows that while some theorists have indeed succeeded in gaining intellectual recognition for innovations that find direct application in financial markets, as scholars focusing on the performativity of economics would predict, the more important pathway involves the exploitation of what Collins and Guillén (2012) have recently dubbed “mutual halo effects:” eminence builds up across generations and in terms of linkages between successful people. Training at Chicago appears to be an important source of innovative success, and the paper discusses why this is the case. The conclusions show how an understanding of financial economics as a field that turns its interdisciplinary origins into a professionally closed field (Whitley 1986b) invites new questions about the sources of its success, in particular its influence over how universities invest their endowments.
Very useful debate on the value-added that relational approaches bring to economic sociology over at orgtheory.org. Viviana Zelizer kindly mentions my work in a post, in the context of discussing macro-oriented relational work. Check it out!
I will be presenting a paper at the 2012 ASA meetings in Denver: "International Trade and the Fiscal Capacity of the State." You can find the link to a draft by clicking on the title. Let me know what you think!
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