There has been increasing interest and debate in recent years on the instituted nature of economic processes in general and the related ideas of the market and the competitive process in particular. This debate lies at the interface between two largely independent disciplines, economics and sociology, and reflects an attempt to bring the two fields of discourse more closely together. This book explores this interface in a number of ways, looking at the competitive process and market relations from a number of different perspectives. It considers the social role of economic institutions in society and examines the various meanings embedded in the word 'markets', as well as developing arguments on the nature of competition as an instituted economic process. The close of the twentieth century saw a virtual canonisation of markets as the best, indeed the only really effective, way to govern an economic system. The market organisation being canonised was simple and pure, along the lines of the standard textbook model in economics. The book discusses the concepts of polysemy , idealism, cognition, materiality and cultural economy. Michael Best provides an account of regional economic adaptation to changed market circumstances. This is the story of the dynamics of capitalism focused on the resurgence of the Route 128 region around Boston following its decline in the mid-1980s in the face of competition from Silicon Valley. The book also addresses the question of how this resurgence was achieved.
industrial divisions of labour. Thus,
it is suggested that an excessive burden of explanatory expectation is placed
on competitiveprocesses within markets, as the dynamic of capitalist
economies. Indeed, I argue here that many conceptions of competition
suffer from this ‘tilt towards the market’ as the sole or primary dynamic force
behind economic growth, to the exclusion or at least sidelining of complementary but at least equally significant dynamics within the realm of
production, such as capital accumulation. After all, to put it at its weakest,
Stan Metcalfe and Alan Warde
In conclusion we draw together and evaluate a number of the themes raised
in this volume and begin to sketch an agenda for future research about
markets and the competitiveprocess. Happily, this book resides within a
now-flourishing broader stream of ideas at the interface between economics
and sociology. Some of this new work signals the resurrection of economic
sociology, while other aspects of it emanate from within the literature on
innovation processes and, more generally, from evolutionary economics.
Stan Metcalfe and Alan Warde
There has been increasing interest and debate in recent years on the instituted
nature of economic processes in general and the related ideas of the market
and the competitiveprocess in particular. This debate lies at the interface
between two largely independent disciplines, economics and sociology, and
reflects an attempt to bring the two fields of discourse more closely together.
In many ways this is to return to a previous age when the study of institutional
arrangements was at the centre of the study of
, running ahead of the unwieldy analytic categories that lumber in their wake (see McRobbie, 2001). It is difficult
to capture the range of products, the forms of knowledge and expertise, the
business types and economic actors that constitute the cultural economy in different places and across different sub-sectors.2 My concern here is to develop
a number of conceptual and critical points relating to the analysis of cultural
economies that may have extended relevance to the study of contemporary
market relations, competitiveprocesses and economic organisation.
developing procedures which enable us to make new combinations
from the results of that division.
Market institutions not only release cognitive resources for the development of both consumer and organisational capital and therefore of new
consumer demands and new productive opportunities which create new contexts for competition: particular institutional structures will encourage these
developments to take particular forms. A study of the competitiveprocess
requires a study of the institutions within which it is channelled, and also of
attempts to modify those
with BSkyB rather than with
BSkyB’s competitors. In addition to representing a distortion of the competitiveprocess to the detriment of other broadcasting companies, such a situation could also have posed an anti-competitive threat to other football clubs
in the Premiership (and might in addition have had a deleterious effect on
clubs outside the Premiership). If the merger had gone ahead and the Restrictive Practices Court had ended the current bargaining arrangements, then
other broadcasters would have been at a competitive disadvantage vis à vis
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This led to a competitiveprocess with other seafaring nations of discovery and declared interests in far-flung areas – America, Australia and Asia. Over time, the British navy proved itself superior to those of Spain, Holland and France and by the eighteenth century the emergent British Empire had the edge over its rivals. What made Britain the most powerful country in the world by the early twentieth century was the economic pre-eminence which its industrial might had bestowed. By 1920, the British Empire occupied a quarter of the
, Benner et al. ( 2011 : 61–2) assert that ‘the interpretive frames and cultural norms’ of an organisation – what they call organisational culture – is one of a number of elements that set the scope for organisational learning. They add that organisational culture can vary within an organisation, and thus learning can become a competitiveprocess of internal negotiation and bargaining in which actors must make convincing claims for how their proposed change is the most closely aligned with the existing norms and rules of the organisation.
rationality. Similarly, media corporations’ profit-seeking intentions have the unintended effect of transforming media into an ideal platform through which this materialistic culture invades consumer consciousness, modifying it in a direction that does more to serve capital accumulation than human well-being. It is through this competitiveprocess, then, that advertising increasingly dominates the content of many media sources (Bordwell 2002 : 240; Cross 2000 : 34). At the same time, substantive content becomes almost an afterthought and a means to attract an audience