Contents of this Issue:
Note from the Chair………..…1-2 Why Economic Sociologists
Should Care About Relational Work……….……2-5
Book Review: Capitalism from Below………………………..….5-7
Book Review: Climbing the Charts………………………….7-8
Book Review: Venture Capital……………………….9-10
Introducing Systems Exchange Website……………………..10-12 Section Sessions in NYC…13-19 Announcements …………....19-25 Section Officers……..……………26


ASA Economic Sociology Newsletter


Accounts Volume 12, Issue 2

APRIL 2013



The first few months of each calendar year are incredibly busy times for all the ASA sections. It’s been no exception for Economic Sociology. Since the December issue of Accounts, in fact, a great deal of the work for the section and the preparation for the ASA meetings has been accomplished (although not all the results are public yet).

The Nominations Committee identified potential candidates for the positions of Section Chair and for Council Members. You will be asked to vote on this slate of candidates (along with all the other ASA officers) in the next couple of months. Please vote! Some outstanding people agreed to run and we are indebted to them for agreeing to serve the section in this way. We will vote for Greta Krippner or Mark Suchman to fill a one- year term as Section Chair; Rene Almeling or Delia Baldassarri to fill a three-year term as Secretary/Treasurer; Frederick Wherry, Cheris Chan, Valery Yukubovich, or Jennifer Blair to fill three-

year terms as Council members (you will vote for two); and Brian Sargent or Lindsey Ibanez to fill a two- year term as Student Representative. Many thanks to the Chair of the Nominations Committee, Alya Guseva, and the committee members, Tim Bartley and Monica Prasad.

Section session and round table organizers had to manage hundreds of papers since mid-January. Processing and coordinating papers on the ASA online submissions site typically is a great deal of work—cumbersome, complex and frustrating, too, as a small number of papers are selected for panels while many others are forwarded in waves to sessions indicated as second choices. Many of those then are forwarded to round table organizers. Information can be confusing; mistakes are made; papers are withdrawn by authors; this is a hard job with lots of room for disappointment. The deadline for organizing everything was mid-March so this phase of the year’s work has just ended. We owe great thanks to everyone who organized our sessions, including Fred Block, Yanjie Bian, Donald Light, Gina Neff and Allison Pugh. See pages 13-19 for a list of the section sessions and all the details about organizers, discussants and papers that will be presented (including abstracts for the truly great sounding papers that will be featured as part of our section’s activities in New York City).



Also busy in the last month (the last two months in one case) have been the committees that are reviewing articles and books for the section prizes. Early reports from Committee Chairs were promising, with committees having received a fair number of outstanding nominations for each award. This is an important part of our Section work and I look forward to announcing the award recipients in my final issue of Accounts, which you should receive right around the first of July.

Be sure to read this issue’s “Why Economic Sociologists Should Care About….” Column. Clare Stacey, author of the award-winning book,

The Caring Self: The Work Experiences of Home Care Aides (2011, ILR/Cornell University Press) reflects on how her research on home health care aides and home companions can help us extend basic concepts in economic sociology to care work, a type of labor that usually is hidden or invisible, entails enormous amounts of emotion work, and is often considered a labor of love. Mitchell Stevens and Lauren Rivera will write the “Why Economic Sociologists Should Care About….” column in my last issue of Accounts (July) on education.

Three book reviews and a substantial number of announcements fill out this issue of Accounts. As always, I look forward to your feedback, suggestions and materials.

Vicki Smith

Chair, Economic Sociology




Clare L. Stacey

Kent State University

When researching the experiences of home care aides for my book, The Caring Self (Cornell 2011), I met a white woman named Virginia, who had worked as a paid caregiver for most of her adult life.



By the age of 62, Virgina had provided care to children in homes and daycare centers; supervised disabled adults in a group home; tended to developmentally delayed children in an institution; and worked in the private residences of countless elderly men and women who needed assistance with daily living. Dubbing herself “the little grandma” of her small town in Northeast Ohio, Virginia spoke extensively about how much she cherished her care work—despite the low pay (she averaged $7.00 an hour), a nagging work-related injury (she tore a surgical site while moving a client from bed to commode) and the ongoing demands of tending to the emotional and physical needs of other people. When I asked Virginia to explain why she extended herself in such a way for strangers, she responded: “You know, they’re like family after a while. You’ve been going to them and you know the most intimate part of their life because you are in their home and their body and their house. So, you do. You make extra [for them].”

There is much that sociologists—economic sociologists in particular—can learn from the work experiences of someone like Virginia. For those interested in the inequalities of the service economy, Virginia is the quintessential “emotional proletarian” (Macdonald and Sirianni 1996), someone who routinely engages in emotional labor with customers, patients or clients in order to sell a good or service. Although many workers are required to perform emotional labor, the emotional proletariat is comprised of mostly low-income women (disproportionately women of color) who wield very little formal power vis-à-vis their employers and whose emotion work is undervalued in terms of wages, benefits and social prestige. Workers like Virginia are indisputably members of this class of emotion workers, as are childcare workers, teacher assistants, and domestics. The ever-expanding literature on emotional labor suggests that when employees like Virginia are asked to produce an emotional state in the context of a service job, the result is often exploitive and deleterious to employee well-being (Erickson and Wharton 1997, Wharton 1999, Grandey 2003). Certainly, Virginia experiences physical and financial penalties as a result of her paid caregiving. Yet, the conventional

reading of emotional labor as fundamentally damaging to workers, a la Hochschild (1983), does not entirely capture how paid caregivers like Virginiawho often develop intimate bonds with their clients or “customers”—experience emotions on the job.

Virigina’s experience points to the relational nature of certain types of occupations, care work occupations in particular. A closer examination of paid care workers (and many other emotional proletarians) would show that relationality— sustained, reciprocal emotional connections between two or more people (Parks 2003) — fundamentally shapes how workers experience and

are rewarded for their labor. An examination of relationality also directly calls into question some of the central tenets of classical political economic theory: that intimacy and economy are

mutually exclusive; that home and market are distinct; and that care happens outside the purview of economic exchange.

What is relational work and what does it have to do with economic sociology?

Definitions of relationality/relational work vary depending on the scholarly context. Feminist philosophers like Nancy Chodorow (1978), Joan Tronto (1993) and Jennifer Parks (2003) focus on relationality as an ontological state that profoundly shapes the psychic, emotional and social lives of people, women in particular. In this perspective, women are responsible for relational work, since they are more likely than men to be “socially embedded, bound by particular others in relationships of dependency, care and concern” (Parks 2003: 7). Feminist scholars go on to question why relational work is the domain of women and why this work is devalued, whether in the domain of family or in the public realm of paid employment.



Within the field of economic sociology, Viviana Zelizer defines relational work as embedded within a broader political economic context; it is something that we all (and by all, she mean individuals as well as organizations and institutions) engage in because we live “connected lives” (Zelizer 2005, Zelizer 2012) where the intimate and the economic always co- exist. Zelizer contrasts connected lives with what she calls a “hostile worlds” orientation that tends to reify economy and market as distinct from intimate social relations. In her formulation, social actors engage in relational work during any economic action and, as such, they:

“erect a boundary, mark the boundary by means of names and practices, establish a set of distinctive understandings that operate within that boundary, designate certain sorts of economic transactions as appropriate for the relation, bar other transactions as inappropriate, and adopt certain media for reckoning and facilitating economic transactions within the relation” (Zelizer 2012: 146).

An example may help highlight the significance of Zelizer’s contribution. In a piece I wrote about family members paid by the state to care for their own elderly and disabled relatives (Stacey and Ayers 2012), I discuss how difficult it is for mothers, brothers, daughters, and other family members to get their heads around receiving a minimum hourly wage from the state to supply care traditionally thought of as a familial obligation. Using Zelizer’s language, these paid caregivers mark boundaries between family/work, paid/unpaid labor and love/money and then struggle to make sense of their labor precisely because it does not fit neatly into a “hostile worlds” framework wherein intimacy and economy are distinct. Through their language of care and their interaction with others, paid family caregivers also provide accounts of their work that delineate what is/is not appropriate. For example, family caregivers emphasize familial obligation but downplay (or even conceal) that they are paid for their work; refuse formal job titles (like “aide” or “provider”) and reframe their work as a public good

that helps their communities. Zelizer’s theoretical insights allows us to recognize the relational work that these family caregivers engage in and also prompt us to explore the empirical significance of cases—like paid family care—where private life is “marketized” (Hochschild 2003). As noted by others, Zelizer’s work also asks us to consider how emotions play a role in economic exchange, a subject that has received little attention in the field of economic sociology (Bandelj 2012).

Zelizer’s understanding of relational work also leads to a better understanding of how social institutions reproduce “hostile world” ideologies and how these ideologies affect social policy and, in turn, the lives of workers. Let’s return to the case of home care aides. These paid caregivers are excluded from minimum wage and overtime protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) because of what is known as the “companionship exemption.” Home care aides are thought to provide “fellowship, care and protection” of the elderly and disabled, work that does not warrant protection (at least according to Congress). So while the physical labor associated with the paid care of dependent others in the home is seen as “work” (which is why FLSA protects RNs who provide home care) the law suggests that talking, emoting, listening or just being with someone in the context of the home does not merit compensation. As such, the companionship exemption reinforces the legal boundary between paid labor and the intimate duties of families and also perpetuates the notion that paid caring labor—especially labor that takes place in the home and involves emotion work—is not part of a market economy.

The exclusion of home care aides from the FLSA certainly has consequences for worker pay, but also informs how aides frame and narrate what they do. Given that the companionship exemption codifies home care labor as outside the realm of paid work, many advocacy groups have chosen to emphasize that aides are “more than companions” and that the work of caring for someone is as much physical as it is emotional or relational. It is true that caring for an elderly or disabled person is physically demanding, but it is also true that, when done



conscientiously, paid care work is about developing and sustaining genuine emotional ties to another person. And yet the “hostile worlds” perspective infects our collective ability to see emotional and relational work as a different kind of economic exchange, and blinds us to the social (and arguably economic) value that is created through caregiver/care recipient interaction.

Despite our collective blind spots regarding the value of paid caring labor, it is clear that economic sociologists like Zelizer, as well as scholars of care work, are moving us away from a “hostile worlds” perspective and toward a more nuanced understanding of the way that economy and intimate life intersect. One hopes that as these ideas evolve and gain more traction, we can begin to integrate the “thing economy” and the “care economy” (Block 2003) and acknowledge that our societal and economic well-being is dependent on recognizing the value of caring labor.

Bandelj, N. 2012. "Relational Work and Economic Sociology." Politics and Society 40(2): 175-201. Block, F. 2003. The 'Thing' Economy and the 'Care' Economy.

Chodorow, N. 1978. The Reproduction of Mothering. Berkeley, University of California Press.

Erickson, R. J. and A. S. Wharton. 1997. "Inauthenticity and Depression: Assessing the Consequences of Interactive Service Work." Work and Occupations 24(2): 188-213.

Grandey, A. 2003. "When "the show must go on": Surface and deep acting as predictors of emotional exhaustion and service delivery. ." Academy of Management Journal 46(1): 86-96.

Hochschild, A. 1983. The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. Berkeley, University of California Press.

Hochschild, A. 2003. The Managed Heart: Twentieth Anniversary Edition. Berkeley, University of California Press.

Macdonald, C. L. and C. Sirianni. 1996. Working in the Service Society. Philadelphia, Temple University Press.

Parks, J. A. 2003. No Place Like Home? Feminist Ethics and Home Health Care. Bloomington, Indiana University Press.

Stacey, C. L. and L. L. Ayers. 2012. "Caught Between Love and Money: The Experiences of Paid Family Caregivers." Qualitative Sociology 35: 47-64.

Tronto, J. C. 1993. Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. New York, Routledge.

Wharton, A. S. 1999. "The Psychosocial Consequences of Emotional Labor." The Annals of the American Academy 561(January): 158-176. Zelizer, V. 2005. The Purchase of Intimacy.

Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press. Zelizer, V. 2012. "How I Became a Relational Economic Sociologist and What Does That Mean?" Politics and Society 40(2): 145-174.


Capitalism from Below: Markets and Institutional Change in China by Victor Lee and Sonja Opper. 2012, The Harvard University Press.

Marian Negoita

University of California-Davis

The literature on post-socialist transformations might have slowed down compared to a decade ago when the “market transition debate” occupied whole issues of sociology’s flagship journals. But some of the original post-socialist scholars are still active in the field,

and the present book—a substantial monograph on postsocialist economic transformation in China—is co-authored by one of the founding figures of the literature, Victor Nee, together with the economist Sonja Opper. China, of course, is a fascinating subject because it is one of the few countries that still calls itself a socialist state. It is an opportunity that Nee and Opper do not want to miss, and the result is an engrossing and well-researched, if not entirely convincing book.



Nee and Opper’s main thesis is that the emerging form of Chinese capitalism has been gradually built from the ground up. They contrast this view to what they characterize as dominant explanatory accounts, which conceptualize Chinese capitalism as a product of state action. Nee and Opper are determined to demonstrate that Chinese private sector development has not been the product of a putative Chinese developmental state, but rather the product of unintended and unplanned social action. Private Chinese firms, the book argues, were seldom the target of favorable government policies. Instead, the political establishment has largely been unsupportive of the private sector, and only recently grudgingly accepted it. What allegedly lies behind this story is not so much political action as informal networks and human cooperation.

After a brief presentation of their main points in Chapter 1, in Chapter 2 the authors lay out the theoretical framework described above. The novelty of this argument is that it marries sociological new institutionalism with its emphasis on norm-based institutional orders, on the one hand, and behavioral economics, with its focus on the complex constellations of motives behind economic action, on the other hand.

The remaining chapters examine various facets of the new Chinese private enterprise economy. Chapter 3 focuses on the geographical center of this economy, the Zhejiang province. Compared to large cities like Shanghai where foreign firms were dominant, Zhejiang offered private entrepreneurs a more sheltered and hospitable environment. Chapter 4 takes a close look at the life histories of the entrepreneurs themselves. We learn that once central planning was abandoned, the nascent entrepreneurs were forced to respond to shifting consumer demands, and thus learned new skills. This social learning was facilitated by Neo- Confucian ethics and undergirded by a moral economy which contained norms that entrepreneurs had to honor (for example, don’t compete against close business friends).

Chapter 5 and 6 examine the institutional dynamics of private sector growth. In good neo-

institutionalist tradition, we learn that isomorphism was the main mechanism of organizational change. In the beginning, a handful of companies saw an opening in the legislation which allowed them to be incorporated as limited liability or joint stock companies. Before long, scores of other companies followed the same route. But also in neo- institutionalist tradition, Nee and Opper view the adoption of these legal forms as somewhat divorced from the reality on the ground – for example, for most of these companies shareholder meetings are symbolic, as firms continue to be run by their owners. Nee and Opper also want to stress the geographical and spatial agglomeration of firms within industrial clusters. Clusters—such as the previously mentioned Zhejiang case—offer substantial advantages, including information sharing, joint problem solving, and co-financing.

Chapter 7 examines the dynamics of the Chinese labor market. The authors reveal that much of the expansion of the private sector has been fueled by an enormous pool of literate, if low-skilled, workers— so much so that until recently companies have not had to advertise for jobs. The situation is rather different for highly skilled workers because their lower availability forces firms to outbid each other to hire them. Generally, Nee and Opper find that working conditions have been improving in most private firms they examine.

Chapter 8 contains an analysis of technological innovation in the Chinese private sector. We learn that the close interfirm collaboration documented in the earlier chapters has not generally been associated with radical technological innovation. It has however, been associated with small, incremental technological advances that nonetheless have been beneficial for the Chinese exporters (Nee and Opper offer several concrete examples).

The major strength of Capitalism from Below is its data. The authors have collected, organized, and analyzed an enormous quantity of data (both qualitative and quantitative), which allow them to offer a detailed picture of the Chinese private sector. The patient reader will be rewarded with a finely-



grained understanding of the industry players, the connections between firms as well as between firms and the government, and of the path that led to this outcome. Quotes from qualitative interviews, which are used liberally throughout the book, add a much needed human dimension to the findings, and make for satisfying reading.

But whereas the empirical strategy is exemplary, the book’s claims and conceptual framework are less convincing. The claim that the Chinese state was largely irrelevant for the growth of the private sector, and that it became accommodating only after the industry had become prominent, seems problematic. Data supplied by the book itself suggest that the Chinese state might have played more than an ornamental role. When the authors describe the growth of the private sector, they state that “the incremental marketization approach taken by reformers in China allowed economic actors to develop, through trial and error, business norms […]” (p. 32). This seems to suggest a somewhat sheltered environment in which firms could experiment, rather than a hostile environment. Later, we find that “An abundant, nearly limitless supply of young, healthy, and literate workers […] was a key factor fueling the rapid growth and competitive advantage of the private enterprise economy” (p. 161). The healthy and literate workers, of course, must have been a product of government efforts—what else?

In addition, the book manages to almost completely ignore the literature on post-socialism, which would have provided rich material for useful comparisons. The only systematic comparison discussed in the book is that with capitalist development in England (both are seen as examples of endogenous growth). But Nee and Opper offer no explanation why this is a useful comparison, and there are many reasons to argue it is not (had England abandoned central planning before initial capitalist development?) The more useful comparisons, of course, would be with other cases of (post)-socialism—but the book mostly shies away from such endeavors. For example, the trajectory of the Chinese private sector strikes me as similar to that of the Hungarian one between the abandonment of central planning in 1967 and the

eventual breakdown of the political regime in 1989. Ivan Szelenyi’s wonderful book Socialist Entrepreneurs (1988), in fact, describes processes of capitalist development in the Hungarian countryside which bear more than a passing resemblance to the phenomena that Nee and Opper are describing here. And Szelenyi’s theory of interrupted embourgeoisement, featured in that book, also seems to be supported by some of the Nee and Opper’s data. Finally, a glance at Michael Burawoy’s (1996, 2001) work might have convinced Nee and Opper that states matter – if nothing else, because a Russian-style state breakdown would have likely spelled doom for the nascent Chinese private sector.

But despite the less convincing aspects, Capitalism from Below remains a remarkable achievement. Economic sociologists, area specialists, and industrial organization experts will find much to like in this book, and will be well rewarded by Nee and Opper’s efforts.


Szelenyi, Ivan and Robert Manchin. 1988. Socialist entrepreneurs: embourgeoisement in rural Hungary. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Burawoy, Michael. 1996. "The state and economic involution: Russia through a China lens." World Development 24: 1105-1118.

Burawoy, Michael. 2001. "Transition without transformation: Russia's involutionary road to capitalism." East European Politics and Societies

15: 269-292.


A Review of Climbing the Charts: What Radio Airplay Tells Us About Diffusion of Innovation by Gabriel Rossman. 2012, Princeton University Press.

Brandy Aven

Tepper School of Business

Carnegie Mellon University



With the rise of online music streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube, it seems a strange endeavor to investigate traditional radio to understand the diffusion of innovation. Yet that is what Rossman does in his new book

Climbing the Charts: What Radio Airplay Tells Us about the

Diffusion of Innovation. Rossman argues that despite traditional radio’s waning relevance amidst the emergence of new forms of music outlets, a deep investigation of this declining medium can still provide insights into the diffusion mechanisms of popular culture. Drawing from sociology of culture, economic sociology and organizational sociology, the book investigates the process by which songs are adopted by radio stations throughout the US and then become “hits.” Interestingly, what Rossman finds in his analysis is that although stations are acting independently to adopt songs and not imitating each other, they still converge on very similar outcomes of airplay. Using pop songs, Rossman seeks to uncover broader concerns of how ideas and practices spread. With varied analyses of the diffusion of different songs, such as “My Humps” and Rihanna’s many dance hits, Rossman provides an inventive and insightful means to understand the proliferation and creation of popular culture.

There is a lot to recommend about this book. Rossman excels at balancing methodological details to satisfy the academic reader and intuitive explanations of techniques and results for the nonacademic reader. The book also takes on theories from various areas, and the author does not play favorites. It’s clear he has a genuine interest in identifying the true mechanisms, which he distills in his writing.

For example, the book ambitiously takes on the nature of diffusion comparing “external influence” diffusion models, where an outside force exerts pressure on the at risk population to adopt something (e.g., marketing campaigns), to the “ internal influence” diffusion models, where the

adoption process spreads endogenously (e.g., by word-of-mouth between the potential adopters). In this setting, Rossman finds little evidence for the popular endogenous mechanisms that sociologists have extensively studied and marketing executives have eagerly been trying to harness -the role of “opinion leaders.” The “opinion leader” hypothesis is a special variant of the contagion process of diffusion, where certain radio stations that are central in the influence network act to drive adoption behavior throughout the network. Rossman finds that despite certain stations being highly recognized and esteemed, the popular stations seem to have little sway on others’ adoption behavior and over all diffusion patterns. Instead of certain stations acting as vanguards of new hit singles, he finds that songs spread endogenously as a generalized cascade rather than cohesive contagion.

Next, Rossman shows that radio stations’ adoption patterns follow an “external influence” pattern of diffusion rather than the famous S-curve of “internal influence,” common to word-of-mouth diffusion. The external force he points to is the promotional efforts of record labels that can take the extreme and illegal form of payola, where radio stations are compensated by the labels for airplay with “gifts” and sometimes cash. Moreover, by examining songs mentioned in the NY state investigations of payola, he finds that the songs exhibited a distinct exogenous diffusion pattern. Rossman explains payola could then be detected without relying on documented evidence from those involved in the scandal. And unfortunately he concludes that despite many legal and policy interventions, the payola exchange network will remain a robust phenomenon.

Rossman also examines the case of the Dixie Chicks radio boycott after the lead singer made a disparaging comment about President Bush. Once again, he upends the common folk wisdom that this backlash was driven by the large corporate actors like Clear Channel; he sees it instead as being driven by smaller radio companies. Here Rossman takes on a common perspective that only large corporations can lead an extreme and widespread



reaction, such as blacklisting a popular band like the Dixie Chicks. Instead, he explains that it was the small peripheral country radio stations that led the charge to boycott the Dixie Chicks, and the large corporations then followed these smaller stations’ lead. This suggests that small peripheral actors can act as the catalysts of collective corporate behavior even in fields dominated by large firms.

In his final empirical chapter, he examines the “crossover” song. Crossover songs are songs that start in one particular format, such as rap, and then migrate to other format, such as pop. Here he looks at the hybrid music form of reggaeton. This chapter speaks to a central question in the production of culture literature, the general issue of art classification. Here he develops a way to construct genre categories and to examine the rate at which certain songs “crossover.” This is a clever test bed to start to understand how certain culture artifacts transcend categories.

The book ends by arguing that despite the relative decline of radio broader implications can still be garnered. He argues that social contagion is one possible way for diffusion to occur but contingencies such as the innovation’s attributes and the environment should be included in such models. For example, since we know that different diseases spread by different means, why wouldn’t the characteristics of different types of cultural artifacts influence spread patterns? Rossman argues (and I agree) that “who adopts an innovation is less interesting than how the innovation is adopted” (95).

A shortcoming of this book is that it creates as many questions in the reader’s mind as it answers. For example, with the ability of individuals to tailor their online radio streaming, could the process of diffusion actually become more similar to the s- curve of “internal influence”? Does the process of cultural artifacts “crossing over” either reinforce or diminish category boundaries? Generating interesting questions such as these, of course, will only endear this book to its readers!


Review of Venture Labor: Work and the Burden of Risk in Innovative Industries by Gina Neff. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2012.

William Finlay

Department of Sociology

University of Georgia

As a sociologist who went to graduate school in the late 1970s to study work and organizations— back then the term “economic

sociology” was not in widespread use as a label and it was well before an ASA section on Economic Sociology had been formed—it is hard to avoid the feeling that the ensuing thirty-plus years have largely upended much of what we thought we knew about economic behavior and institutions. In graduate school we learned about a world dominated by large, stable corporations who provided careers for their white-collar employees (the much-analyzed “internal labor markets”) and negotiated with their blue-collar employers who were organized into relatively powerful unions (although they were not quite as strong as their European counterparts). Of course, we also knew that not everyone enjoyed the benefits of a secure career, good wages, or a guaranteed pension—the literature on the dual economy or dual labor markets pointed out that workers in the periphery sector of the economy, who were disproportionately female, minority, and immigrant, did not share equally in the long post- World War II boom. But today it makes little sense to speak of privileged workers in the core sector, when so many of their erstwhile privileges have apparently vanished along with the terms core and periphery.

There has been considerable discussion among sociologists, economists, and others of why the postwar model—the “good jobs” era—came unstuck. It seems to me that there was no defining fin-de-siècle moment, but rather an accumulation of events: the political assault on unions, perhaps best exemplified by Ronald Reagan’s firing of the



striking air-traffic controllers in 1981 (although the roots of anti-unionism go back further); the rise of global competition, initially from Japan, later from China, and the subsequent wave of downsizing and outsourcing that swept across U.S. companies in the 1980s and 1990s; the shift of economic power from manufacturers to retailers, most prominent of which is Wal-Mart; the across-the-board deregulation that made economic bubbles and catastrophic business failures more likely; and finally and perhaps most ambiguously, the emergence of the volatile Internet or new economy in the 1990s. Ambiguous because the new economy includes successes such as Apple, Google, and Amazon as well as a huge number of failed start-ups.

Gina Neff, in her new book, “Venture Labor: Work and the Burden of Risk in Innovative Industries,” is among those who link the disappearance of good jobs to the Internet revolution. In fact, she pinpoints a specific event and year: the launch of Mosaic Netscape in 1994. She writes: “The year 1994 was a turning point in the history of the U.S. economy. It marked the launch of a ‘new economy’—and a symbolic end to the old economy value of corporate loyalty to employees” (p. 39). It was also in 1994, she notes, that IBM laid off employees for the first time in its history. Netscape’s IPO a year later made its founders fabulously wealthy and triggered a dot-com boom: starting one’s own business or working for an Internet start-up, despite the risks, become more desirable than working for an established company. The dot-coms in Neff’s study were based in Silicon Alley, which is roughly defined as the district around Broadway in downtown Manhattan. The past tense is appropriate here because Silicon Alley was devastated by the dot-com crash of 2000- 2002—it had a meteoric rise and fall. The workers of Silicon Valley, unlike their more famous California counterparts, did not develop hardware or software; they wrote and designed content for the Internet. They were part of the world of new media.

The focus of the book is risk, specifically how the risks of insecure employment have become an individual responsibility and how these tenuous dot-

com jobs became defined as attractive, i.e., worth the risk. Neff’s argument is that risk creates its own dynamic—as jobs become riskier, people become increasingly willing to take risky jobs. The dot-com era accelerated this dynamic by glorifying risk. It turned employment into a kind of casino that would provide enormous payoffs to the fortunate few; employees were encouraged both to embrace risk and to consider their time at work as an investment in themselves and their companies. This explains the title of her book: venture labor.

The possibility of a big payout does not refer to financial success only. Neff points out that for some workers venture labor was a means to be creative and to establish a reputation, which in turn would allow them to find their next job. But these strategies, or rationalizations, provided little protection when the dot-com bubble burst. In the book’s most revealing chapter, she shows that the social networks that Silicon Alley workers had gone to such lengths to construct were impotent when the industry crashed. The reason was that their networks were full of redundant ties, which might have been useful to a handful of workers if an individual firm or two had failed, but which were quite ineffective when just about every company went under.

What are the broader lessons for economic sociology of the Silicon Alley debacle? Neff’s analysis highlights two. First, some very successful ideas—and businesses—emerged from the wreckage, even if their originators did not profit from them. Neff writes: “Silicon Alley left a legacy of downloadable songs, video streaming, internet radio, social media, pop-up ads, and heartfelt personal blogs, all of which continue to reverberate in online media content” (p. 151). Second, the story of Silicon Alley exposed the high personal and professional costs that the venture-labor model of employment could impose upon individual workers. As Neff concludes, the ideas that inspired the businesses were good, but the jobs that the businesses created were not.



The question that remained in my mind, after reading Neff’s book, was the extent to which we should see Silicon Alley as foreshadowing the future of postindustrial work or as a case study of entrepreneurial failure (which is of course far more common than success). Without denying the validity of Neff’s thesis that many employees are much more willing to embrace risk than they were in the past, it seems premature to write the obituary of the good-jobs model, even if these jobs are not as plentiful as they were in the past. It is, for example, difficult to look at company like Google, with its project to build a better boss, its algorithm for trying to understand why it has not retained and promoted women at the same rate as men, and its assortment of family-friendly policies, without coming to the conclusion that it is a 21st Century version of IBM. Some companies may indeed expect workers to risk their careers in insecure employment but others will continue to find that it is an advantage to provide stable jobs with good prospects. And, quite possibly, a graduate student somewhere is working on a study of managerial hierarchies at Google or Apple.


Kelsey Meagher

University of California, Davis

Dina Biscotti

University of California Davis

We are excited to announce a new on-line resource for the economic sociology community. We invite you to visit the Systems of Exchange website which has been developed for researchers, instructors and students of economic sociology. The website can be accessed at The site offers a typology for understanding economic action from a sociological perspective, along with real- world examples and resources for teaching

undergraduate students. The typology was developed by Nicole Woolsey Biggart and Rick Delbridge in their article “Systems of Exchange,” which won the Academy of Management Review Best Paper Award in 2005.

The systems of exchange (SOE) framework is a theoretical alternative to the dominant “free market” model depicted by neoclassical economists. Economic sociologists have long argued that this fictional ideal is a poor basis for understanding economic action. Biggart and Delbridge instead offer an empirically-derived typology that distinguishes between qualitatively different types of exchange arrangements. Their classification scheme borrows from Weber’s distinction between instrumental and substantive logics of action and Parsons’ distinction between universalistic and particularistic social relations. Biggart and Delbridge propose four systems of exchange— Price, Associative, Moral, and Communal—which categorize actors’ logics of action and the structure of social relations between them. These four systems are ideal types which represent substantively different, rational systems as opposed to deviations from an idealized market.

The SOE typology offers research advantages for the empirical analysis of economic action. It neither assumes that all exchange relations are variations of a single model, nor that all economic systems are historically unique. Each of the four systems of exchange assumes a particular economic logic that, in turn, supports complementarities between the social construction of normative economic actors, social relationships of a particular type, pricing



systems, and regulatory–organizational schemes. The typology supports analysis at multiple levels, including individual and corporate actors. It can be used to develop hypotheses about the conditions under which various systems emerge as well as causal explanations of how systems shift from one type to another.

The Systems of Exchange website provides many tools for learning about the framework and incorporating it in the classroom and offers inspiration for research in economic sociology. The Theory page provides a broad overview of the framework and outlines the distinguishing characteristics of each system of exchange. Users can download the original article by Biggart and Delbridge, and they can consult the glossary and FAQs for easy reference.

Case studies on the Systems of Exchange website bring the systems of exchange typology alive with real-world examples that show how differing logics of action can lead to substantial variation in exchange arrangements. Case studies describing pay-as-you-can restaurants and food waste reduction programs illustrate the moral system of exchange. Case studies of joint ventures between airline companies and federal marketing orders for agricultural commodities show the associative system of exchange at work. The case studies also reveal how particular exchange relations are variously established and contested over time. For example, professional courtesy among physicians—a practice that has historically reflected a communal logic—has been challenged in recent years by third- party payers objecting to medical professionals’ failure to collect co-pays from their colleagues, thereby subjecting them to a price system of exchange. Another example of tensions between particular exchange systems can be seen in the controversy over retailers like H&M and Walmart destroying unsold clothing; their actions reflect the

price logic of minimizing competition from resale, but they also defied consumers’ moral repugnance toward waste.

The Instructor Guide provides resources for teaching economic sociology to undergraduate students using the systems of exchange analytical framework. It includes a syllabus for an economic sociology course developed at UC Davis that centers around a series of five “systems of exchange debates.” Students debate the exchange of particular good or service using the systems of exchange typology. By applying the typology to real-world cases and listening to their peers, students gain fluency in critiquing the idea that all economic action can be reduced to self-interested, utility-maximizing price logics. Students come to understand that most forms of economic exchange involve mixed-models informed by multiple logics of exchange.

The first debate is on the exchange of human blood in contemporary U.S. society. Students read work by Kieran Healy on the procurement organizations that mediate and sustain blood and organ exchange, by Jennifer Haylett on the relational work involved in human egg donation, and by Nancy Scheper- Hughes on the sale of human kidneys from the world’s poor. One team of students argues that the exchange of blood should be organized predominantly according to price logics—in which people should be allowed to say, pay more for fresher blood. The opposing team argues that some other logic—perhaps moral or communal logics— should order the exchange of human blood. Through the debates, the social construction of legitimate and illegitimate ways of ordering exchange becomes more visible to students. Subsequent debates on health care, consumer financial products, carbon emissions, and drinking water allow students to develop an economic sociology perspective in thinking about health care reform, new consumer financial protections, cap- and-trade, and the privatization of water.

The blog on the website features news stories that illustrate different facets of the systems of exchange framework. Recent posts discuss calls for a carbon



tax and the Canadian maple syrup cartel that recently experienced an elaborate $18 million theft. Readers are invited to continue the discussion by leaving comments on the blog or by suggesting new examples to cover. We also invite original submissions to the blog or additional teaching resources via the “Contact Us” page on the website. We welcome submissions describing original research or current events. As the website continues to develop, we also plan to highlight journal articles from multiple disciplines that have used the SOE framework.

We believe the Systems of Exchange website will be a valuable resource for the economic sociology community. We hope that the website and teaching resources will make the social arrangements that underlie economic exchange more visible to students. Furthermore, we hope that the article and website will contribute to economic sociology research about the conditions that support and challenge existing exchange relations. We invite your contributions to the website as well as your suggestions for additional resources to develop.


Biggart, Nicole and Rick Delbridge. 2004. “Systems of Exchange.” Academy of Management Review 29(1): 28-49.

Weber, Max. 1978. Economy and Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Parsons, Talcott. [1937] 1968. The Structure of Social Action Volume II: Weber. New York: Free Press.

Healy, Kieran. 2006. Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the Market for Human Blood and Organs. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Haylett, Jennifer. 2012. “One Woman Helping Another: Egg Donation as a Case of Relational Work.” Politics and Society. 40: 223-247. Backdash, Tarif and Nancy Scheper-Hughes. 2006. “Is It Ethical for Patients with Renal Disease to Purchase Kidneys from the World’s Poor?” PLoS Medicine. 3:1699-1702.




New York City, August 2013


Organizers of this year’s section sessions received scores of outstanding submissions, excellent news for the section. Session organizers report having had to make many hard decisions about which papers to place and which to forward to other sessions and to round tables. You will see, from paper titles and abstracts, that the section will feature a lot of cutting-edge and fascinating research at the meetings in NYC.

Economic Sociology: Section


Session 1. “Intimate Lives in Market


Organizer: Allison J. Pugh, University of Virginia

Presider: Allison J. Pugh, University of Virginia

Paper 1. “Consenting to Die: Autonomy and Finance in the U.S. Moral Economy of End-of-Life Care.” Roi Livne, University of California, Berkeley Abstract: How much money should be spent on trying to save the lives of severely ill patients? This provocative financial phrasing of a medical-ethical quandary has become common in the U.S. healthcare economy. As efforts to cap healthcare spending increase, emotionally torturing decisions about forgoing life prolonging treatment become embedded in the financial interests of healthcare providers. This paper focuses on palliative care - a new medical sub-specialty that focuses on



facilitating discussions on end-of-life care with patients and families. Basing on a yearlong ethnography of the work of three palliative care teams and on 80 in-depth interviews with clinicians whose work pertains to end-of-life care, this paper discusses palliative care as a sub-specialty designed to cut through the gordian knot of financial interests, ethical predicaments, and emotional challenges. I argue that rather than imposing financial imperatives as external constraints on patients and families’ wishes, palliative care appeals to patients and families’ subjective hopes and wishes, in attempt to ally them with hospitals’ financial interest. Through conversations with families and patients, palliative care clinicians elicit patients’ preferences in a way that makes a consent to withdraw life prolonging care more likely. This method is deeply rooted in the American patient autonomy ethic. Indeed, it constitutes an exemplary cost-efficient application of this ethic in one of the most emotionally and morally-charged domains of medicine.

Paper 2. “Intimacy/Economy in Family Business: ‘Nothing But’ Business or ‘Connected Lives’ Frames in Advice Articles.” Nina Bandelj, University of California, Irvine; Paul James Morgan, University of California-Irvine; Elizabeth Alexis Sowers, UC Irvine

Abstract: We contribute to the inquiry on the intimacy/economy interplay by applying Zelizer’s (2005) seminar differentiation between “hostile worlds,” “nothing but,” and “connected lives” perspectives to advice articles in the Family Business Magazine from 1989 to 2012. We aim to make three contributions. First, we apply the framework most often used for households, sexual economies or art markets to business corporations. Second, we ask how economic actors themselves employ these frames in describing the challenges of family business. Third, we go beyond documenting the use of frames to ask how their adoption differs over time and by interpreter’s social position, in particular gender and professional affiliation. We conduct content analysis of 339 articles using two coders to find that most articles align with either the connected lives or nothing but perspectives, in about equal proportions. However, women advice

authors use connected lives more frequently, as do psychologists and journalists. Authors who are either economic/financial advisors or (male) business executives frame issues more with a nothing but logic. There is also some evidence that nothing but frames are used less frequently in the period before 2000, rather than later, aligning with the emphasis about the rising penetration of the market logic into everyday lives.

Paper 3. “The Circuit of Reproductive Labor: Sexual Labor and Mothering in Contemporary China.” Man Chuen Catherine Cheng, University of Toronto

Abstract: Understanding both sexual labor and mothering labor as part and parcel of social reproduction, this article examines the relationship between different forms of reproductive labor. Based upon an ethnographic study on Chinese migrant workers in Macao sex industry, I develop the concept circuit of reproductive labor to capture the transference of material and moral values between paid sexual labor and unpaid mothering labor. Contrary to the cultural construction that mothering and sexual labor are two incompatible forms of work, I argue that in actuality their practice enable and inform each other. Migrant sex workers often refer to their birth giving experience as an enabling factor to engage in sexual labor as they have already fulfilled the gender responsibility of biological reproduction. Also, the length of time women stay in sex industry, their emotions at work, and the type of sexual labor they practice are informed by the gender responsibility of mothering. Conversely, women also transfer the money they earn from their engagement in sexual labor to invest in their children’s education and career and to enhance their children’s consumption. Discursively, while migrant sex workers are stigmatized as both bad women and bad mothers, they develop the ethics of sexual labor by using the moral values of motherhood to distinguish themselves from other women in the sex industry. By underscoring the transference of material and moral values across paid sexual and unpaid mothering labor, I highlight women’s agency in negotiating their economic position and moral status.



Paper 4. “ ‘Children are not for sale – you’re not doing that’: Adoption as Child Welfare and Commodification.” Elizabeth Yoon Hwa Raleigh, Carleton College

Abstract: Adoption and commodification are often positioned as operating in separate spheres where child welfare practice is immune to market forces. This article seeks to illustrate the inexorable link between the social and economic worlds. Drawn from observations from forty domestic and international adoption information sessions, this study explores how adoption professionals describe and market adoption to prospective parents. As the front stage of the adoption process, these information meetings serve as fruitful ethnographic sites, often capturing the first point of contact between the prospective adoptive parents and adoption institutions. During these interactions, I find that adoption providers must continually balance their roles as social service advocates and client services personnel, both eschewing and embracing the market metaphor. I describe and analyze the tension that emerges between these distinct spheres and how adoption is simultaneously positioned as a social service that finds parents for children as well as a customer service that finds children for parents. By bringing the workers back in, this study extends our knowledge of sociological markets by focusing on the middlemen (and women) who are integral to the formation of adoptive families.

Discussant: Marianne Cooper, Stanford University

Session 2. “Putting Economic Sociology Into Practice”

Organizer: Donald W. Light, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University and UMDNJ-SOM

Presider: Donald W. Light, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University and UMDNJ-SOM

Paper 1. “Bankers in the Ivory Tower: The Financialization of Governance at the University of California.” Charlie Eaton, UC Berkeley (Presenter); Adam Goldstein, University of California Berkeley (Presenter); Jacob Habinek, University of California - Berkeley (Presenter);

Mukul Kumar, UC Berkeley (Non-Presenter); Tamera Lee Stover, UC Berkeley (Non-Presenter); Alexander Roehrkasse,; UC Berkeley (Non-Presenter)

Abstract: In this paper, we use the tools of economic sociology to examine changes in fiscal governance at the University of California. Between 2007 and 2011 the debt burden of UC more than doubled, but rather than offset state cutbacks, these funds were invested into medical centers, dormitories, and athletic facilities. Tuition continued to rise and key university services were scaled back. We argue that this paradoxical trend is best understood in terms of the financialization of university governance. As a case study, we focus on one financial tool employed by UC management in conjunction the issuance of bonds, interest rate swaps. UC entered into swap agreements with several investment banks between 2003 and 2007. While these swap agreements may ultimately cost UC up to $200 million in coming years, UC has resisted the notion of renegotiating or contesting the terms of its swaps. Instead UC management has employed a logic of necessary deference to financial markets, giving wide discretion to the office of the CFO and expressing paramount concern for UC’s standing in credit markets. The reorientation of UC’s strategic priorities towards financial management and financial markets reflects both the restructuring of UC administration to empower financial managers and the recent influx of former and current financial executives into UC management and the Board of Regents.

Paper 2. “ Public Sociology in the Context of Economic Restructuring.” Ann Doris Duffy, Brock University (Presenter); Norene Pupo, York University (Non-Presenter); June Shirley Corman, Brock University (Non-Presenter)

Abstract: The three authors are currently collaborating on an interview-based examination of the impact of de-industrialization on local workers, their families and communities in a small manufactuing city in Ontario. This project led to invitations to discuss the implications of the research and the interview results with local community leaders, social agency personnel and social policy advisors. In this paper, the authors



explore the contractiions inherent in communicating a 'bad news' analysis that permits limited short-term public actions and that draws into question current efforts to buoy public spirits. The authors discuss both their public presentations and the diverse responses from segments of the community. The development of public sociologies may expose academic sociologists to significant contradictions in their role as social analysts and their advocacy for progressive social change.

Paper 3. “Relational Work in Intermediated Ties: The Dynamics of Guanxi in Hospital Care in China.” Cheris Shun-ching Chan, University of Hong Kong (Presenter)

Abstract: Based on an ongoing ethnographic research on hospital care in China, this paper examines why and how intermediaries and medical service providers engage in helping the service seekers that they do not know. When “quality medical care” is in short supply and public hospitals are undergoing corporatization, patients are mobilizing their guanxi (social relationships) to obtain preferential treatment and better care. Intermediaries play a critical role in connecting service seekers to service providers. As there are many seekers but only limited number of providers, many seekers rely on indirect intermediaries for help. These intermediaries’ motives for helping those they do not know vary from sympathies, to obligations, and favor exchanges. Tie strength is found to be an important variable that affects intermediaries’ willingness to help, as well as the seekers’ chance of obtaining preferential treatment. Indirect reciprocity in multiple levels of intermediations is also achieved through the intermediaries. This paper illustrates how relational work is performed and constantly negotiated among different groups of actors.

Paper 4. “Conflict of Interest Policies and the Diffusion of Stimulant, Antidepressant, and Antipsychotic Medications.” Marissa King, Yale University (Presenter); Peter S. Bearman, Columbia University (Non-Presenter) Abstract: Antidepressant, stimulant, and antipsychotic medications are among the fastest growing, most heavily marketed, and highest

grossing classes of medications in the United States. In this article, we use a dataset that captures more than 60% of prescriptions written in the United States to examine patterns of diffusion for four newly introduced psychotropic medications. We analyze how marketing regulation, peer influence, and drug characteristics shape patterns of adoption among physicians. Regulation of pharmaceutical marketing has a significant impact on physicians’ propensity to prescribe newly introduced medications, which are often considerably more expensive than comparable existing alternatives. We observe the strongest regulatory effects for the least innovative drugs. Moreover, for medications that did afford advantages over other medications already on the market, peer networks offer an alternative means of information diffusion when regulations are in place to restrict pharmaceutical marketing. Our analysis of the diffusion of mental health medications augments and extends a long history of sociological inquiry into the role of marketing and peer effects in the diffusion of medical innovations by examining patterns of diffusion of medications that vary in innovativeness in different regulatory environments. Discussant: Erik Olin Wright, University of Wisconsin

Session 3. “Work, Labor and


Organizer: Gina Neff, University of Washington

Paper 1. “Self-Employment of Immigrants: Understanding the Country of Origin Effects.” Berkay Ozcan, London School of Economics (Presenter)

Abstract: A growing literature seeks answer to the question why immigrants from certain countries of origin are more entrepreneurial and whether entrepreneurship is culturally determined. Yet, focusing on the first-generation immigrants, this literature failed the thorny task of isolating the effect of institutional settings and macroeconomic conditions in origin countries from the “entrepreneurial culture”, and furthermore has found inconclusive results. We propose that comparing second-generation immigrants that are born in the U.S., lived under the same macroeconomic climate



and institutional setting provides a way around this problem and alleviates the concerns about the immigrant selection. Using Current Population Survey (1994-2011), we analyse the mechanisms through which the rate of self-employment in the country where parents had originated from affects their children’s propensity to choose self- employment. Our preliminary result shows a significant negative correlation, which is robust to various specifications and fixed effects. Overall, our study offers insights about cultural transmission of self-employment across immigrant generations.

Paper 2. “Degenerates, Schnooks & Snitches: Demeanor & Control In A Mob Bookie Wireroom.” Rachael Heath Ferguson, Princeton University (Presenter)

Abstract: The economic impulses and presumed self-interest of mid-to-high ranking crime entrepreneurs, and their free recourse to violence, would seem to fit separate-spheres/hostile-worlds views of social relations. Criminals have no recourse to the legal world and State mechanisms of contract enforcement. The assumption is that they use violence – or the threat of violence – to enforce and sanction. We know that the criminal world can be violent, but successful long-term crime entrepreneurs are rarely violent. We know why this is the case, what we are less sure of is how they achieve this. I use ethnographic data from several years spent doing fieldwork in a mafia-associated bookie wireroom in New York City to examine how order is established in the absence of organic bonds and external enforcement, with minimal use of violence or coercion. I find that relationships and transactions with employees, clients, and rivals are largely regulated using interactional mechanisms that are not unique to the criminal world. This provides evidence of yet another social/professional environment in which the separate-spheres/hostile- worlds view fails to explain social or professional relations, and where minute changes in context can have tremendous effect on the moment of the interaction and the outcome.

Paper 3. “Starting Over in the New Economy: Age Disparities in the Reemployment Outcomes of Displaced Older Workers.” Brian Serafini,

University of Washington (Presenter); Michelle Lee Maroto, University of Alberta (Non-Presenter) Abstract: Older workers comprise a rapidly growing portion of the American labor force, yet they are especially vulnerable to the economic consequences of job displacement. Compared to their younger counterparts, displaced older workers experience longer unemployment durations and suffer greater earnings losses upon reemployment. In this paper, we use nationally representative data spanning the last decade to examine how displaced older workers have fared over the last decade, including the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and subsequent recovery periods. We find that all displaced older aged workers – workers between the ages of 50 to 64 and 65 and over – experienced longer unemployment spells than younger workers, which appear to result from employers’ preferences for younger workers. Our results also suggest that, in the “new” economy, displaced workers’ skill investments – their previous job experience and educational training – affect unemployment durations differently for younger and older workers, with educational investments becoming an increasingly important determinant of older workers’ ability to quickly find new employment. Finally, we find evidence that retirement aged workers experience the greatest earnings losses once they become reemployed and these losses can be attributed to their movement into new occupations. We conclude that providing older workers with opportunities to enhance their skill sets and convincing employers of the value of maintaining an older workforce will be key challenges in the new millennium.

Paper 4. “Deskilling of Professional Services and Pseudo-Professional Identity in Tax Preparation Work.” Roman V. Galperin, Cornell University (Presenter)

Abstract: The paper argues that deskilling of professional services creates a paradoxical situation. While the replacement of skilled workers with a combination of unskilled laborers and expertise- encapsulating technology allows firms to reduce the cost of labor and, most importantly, to access the benefits of scale, the very absence of professionals makes it difficult for the firms to then sell the



services as professional services. This paper suggests a mechanism by which the paradox, heretofore unaddressed in the discussions of standardization and deskilling of professional service work, is resolved in practice. Using a case of tax preparation work in the U.S., the paper demonstrates that professional identity can emerge in non-professional, low-status workers in the context of low-paying, standardized, deskilled professional work. Using in-depth interviews (N=50) and a field-based survey-experiment (N=437), the paper investigates the emergence of the pseudo-professional identity and finds that because professionalism is a strong cultural concept that does not require actual professionalization to be effective, playing a professional may be equivalent to being one. The paper further finds that poor work conditions that would seem inadequate for a claim of professional practice and that ostensibly contradict and inhibit professional identity, may promote and sustain it. The paper concludes with a discussion of pseudo-professional identity as a form of organizational control.

Paper 5. “Leaving the Herd: The Deviant Roots of Self-Employment.” Marc-David L. Seidel, University of British Columbia (Presenter); Henrich R. Greve, INSEAD (Non-Presenter); Dennis G. Ma, University of British Columbia (Non-Presenter)

Abstract: Deviance during adolescence has garnered renewed attention in the and later life work outcomes. At the same time, adults with high tolerance for risk tsociology literature. Yet little is known about the link between such early experiences aking and novel experiences are thought to be attracted to the risks and lack of structure involved in entrepreneurship, and such individuals also show greater deviance from social norms. Taking a life-course perspective on entrepreneurship, we hypothesize that self- employment aspirations can be explained by experiencing deviance during adolescence. Conversely we also theorize that structured experiences and parental involvement reduce self- employment aspirations. Using two longitudinal datasets, we show that deviant behaviors in adolescence such as smoking marijuana and

successfully lying to parents lead to self-employment aspirations among young adults, while some structured experiences such as participating in organized sports at a young age reduce self- employment aspirations.

Session 4. “Comparative/Global

Economic Sociology”

Organizer: Yanjie Bian, University of Minnesota

Presider: Yanjie Bian, University of Minnesota

Paper 1. “Nation-state Size, Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance in the Advanced Capitalist Countries.” Natalka Patsiurko, University of Aberdeen; John L. Campbell, Dartmouth College; John Hall, McGill University

Abstract: This paper examines the proposition that the economic performance of advanced capitalist countries depends on their size and ethnic composition. As such it blends insights from two important literatures in comparative political economy. One is exemplified by the work of Peter Katzenstein, who wrote the classic treatise on the relationship between nation-state size and economic performance. Another is illustrated by the work of Ernest Gellner, whose work suggested that economic performance depends on the ethnic composition of the nation-state. The argument is tested on pooled data from 30 advanced capitalist countries for the 1985 through 2007 period. Regression analysis confirms that ethnically homogenous countries tend to have stronger rates of economic growth than ethnically heterogeneous countries but that neither the size of countries nor the interaction of size and ethnic composition have significant effects.

Paper 2. “The spirit of capitalism, ‘dirty’ industrialization, and income inequality: A micro- macro causal model.” Shawn Fletcher Dorius, University of Michigan; Wayne E. Baker, University of Michigan

Abstract: I n both original form and in popular discourse, Weber's classic Protestant Ethic thesis is grounded in the relationship between capitalist values and status attainment. Advocates and opponents of Weber’s thesis have primarily focused on the religious underpinnings of the ‘Protestant



Ethic’ at the expense of the ideological dimension Weber saw as the key motivational force behind the rise of contemporary industrial capitalism. By removing the religious dimension, Weber’s thesis becomes a broadly generalizable ‘mobility model’ with potential appeal far beyond the narrow confines of Christian European history. Within a macro-comparative framework, we explore the relationship between capitalist values, capitalist behaviors, and economic development. We use fixed effects regression models to demonstrate a within- country association between values and economic development. We then use structural equation models to test the indirect effect of values on economic development via mediating variables in economic, demographic and social domains. Results suggest that capitalist values are an essential motivating factor in the global diffusion of industrialization and the accumulation of national wealth. Failure to account for the indirect effect of values on capitalist outcomes and to control for socioeconomic advantage is likely to obscure the causal effect of values on industrial capitalism.

Paper 3. “Making Capitalists without Economic Capital: The Privatization of State-Owned Industrial Enterprises in China and Russia.” Xiaonong Cheng, Princeton University Abstract: In the past two decades Russia is widely acknowledged as a poor student in privatization, whereas China is often mentioned as a model of successful economic transition. The author conducted an in-depth comparative study of

privatization in Russia and China, and found that, although political backgrounds and policy formation of the two privatizations were different, privatizations of industrial enterprises in the two countries, shaped by social relations at the workplace, have seemingly reached the same destination, i.e., in many privatized enterprises, managers who personally invested only a little money, or nothing, have finally empowered themselves to be the new masters of the firms. Such privatizations might be depicted as a process of making capitalism without economic capital. While social capital of Russian managerial nomenklatura, which was highly institutionalized in the Soviet era, has remained predominant in the post-Soviet

Russia, the political capital of Chinese managerial nomenklatura guarantees their superior positions at the workplace. Both in Russia and China, workers employed a feeble “weapon of the weak,” by supporting an idea endorsed by communist ideology, that workers were the masters of their enterprise. Russia’s initial democratizing process somewhat restrained actions of Russian managers, but Chinese managers were authorized to act as they wished. Consequently, the privatization of small- and medium- sized SOEs in Russia was much more transparent than that in China, and Russian managers grabbed less assets in the process than their Chinese counterparts did.

Paper 4. “The State as an Investor and Invader: Economic Openness and Indigenous Innovation in Chinese Firms.” Junmin Wang, University of Memphis; Doug Guthrie, Stern School of Business, New York University

Paper 5. “The Financial Fix: The Crises of the EU and the Closing of the Political Mind.” Istvan Adorjian, University of Chicago

Session 5. “Author Meets Critics: An Invited Panel on the Zelizer Book Award recipient”

Organizer: Frank Dobbin, Harvard University Panelists: TBA (details will be released in the June issue of Accounts)

In addition, section member Fred Block is organizing ten round tables. Details of the roundtables will be released in the June issue of Accounts.

Nancy Davis and Rob Robinson's Claiming Society for God: Religious Movements and Social Welfare in Egypt, Israel, Italy, and the United States (Indiana University Press, 2012), was awarded the 2013 Scholarly Achievement Award of the North Central Sociological Association.

Donald Light is the recipient of this year’s ASA Distinguished Career Award. To learn about Light’s many distinctions and contributions visit the Award Announcement at e/Donald_Light.cfm.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey and Ken-Hou Lin, University of Massachusetts, received a grant from the Institute for New Economic Thinking for their research, “Does Financialization Contribute to Growing Income Inequality?”

Abstract: The financialization of the US economy and rising income inequalities are two of the most profound economic developments of the last fifty years. In this project we ask if the financialization of the US economy has contributed to rising income inequality. We propose to answer this question with complementary analyses at the individual, firm and industry levels. We focus on three components of the earnings distribution: employment earnings distributions, executive compensation, and capital/labor shares of value added. For firms we also examine the consequences of financialization for global and domestic employment and for domestic employment separately for various occupational groups.


Awards, Honors and Grants



Matt Vidal has been promoted to Senior Lecturer in the King's College London Department of Management.

Junmin Wang (PI) and Doug Guthrie (Co-PI) received a National Science Foundation grant for “Making Global Capital Work: Economic Openness and Corporate Governance in Chinese Capital Markets.” The grant ($136,178, for 2012-14) comes from the Science of Organizations Program.

Frederick F. Wherry will join Yale University as Professor of Sociology in July 2013.

a list of three references to: 21302

Announcements of positions

Dartmouth College: Director, Political

Economy Project

Dartmouth College is searching for a director to head a newly established Political Economy Project. The Project will enhance teaching, research, and campus discussion of the ethics and politics of capitalism. It will address such questions as: Are free markets compatible with fairness? Is there a system of values consistent with both economic prosperity and human dignity? What role, if any, should the government play in economic life? How have capitalist institutions and economic prosperity varied across time and place? More information about the Project is available at itical-economy-proposal.pdf.

We are looking for an established scholar and outstanding teacher in a related field—for example, economic thought, political theory, comparative political economy, or economic sociology. Candidates with the appropriate academic credentials will be considered for a tenured appointment. Preference will be given to candidates with experience relevant to creating and administering an interdisciplinary program, with skills necessary for fundraising, and with the vision and enthusiasm needed to establish a successful program.

Review of applications will begin March 15, 2013 and will continue until the position is filled. Our target start date is September 1, 2013. Women and minorities are encouraged to

apply. Dartmouth College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Applicants should send a cover letter, a c.v. and




The first Management Theory Conference will take place September 27-29, 2013 in San Francisco, California at the University of the Pacific’s San Francisco

campus. Please see the “Call for Papers” for this conference, below (in Calls for


Keynote speakers include:



Roy Suddaby, editor, Academy of Management Review!

For more information, and to submit a paper, please visit the Management Theory Conference website at

SASE Mini-conference: Economic Culture in the Public Sphere

SASE 25th Annual Conference States in Crisis

June 27-29, 2013 University of Milan conferences_fr_158.html#MC8

The mini-conference on Economic Culture in the Public Sphere asks several questions: What do the debates about the Euro-Zone crisis tell us about the cultural and political constraints on economic policy making? Why are there such fierce debates about executive profits during times of crisis and what are the moral constraints on financial incentives and on legal (though unseemly) market strategies? In summary, how do economic concepts and moral understandings affect market action? Social scientists from at least three continents presenting case studies and multi-country analyses of the Eurozone, the United States, India and elsewhere will utilize different measurement strategies to assess economic culture and its societal effects. Four panels constitute the mini-conference: 1) How do Economic Ideas Matter? 2) Legitimacy and Moral Boundaries in Economic Life? 3) Economic Culture in Post-Crisis Europe, part 1; and 4) Economic Culture in Post-Crisis Europe, part 2. Panel participants include Jens Beckert, Mabel Berezin, Rachel Harvey, Daniel Hirschman, Jason Jackson, Daniel Philip Kinderman, Dan Lainer- Vos, Nicole Lindstrom, Cathie Jo Martin, Stephanie Lee Mudge, Sascha Muennich, Simone Polillo, Vivien Schmidt, and Carlo Tognato. The mini-conference is organized by Lyn Spillman, Frederick F. Wherry, and Nina Bandelj.

Books published by section members

Mizruchi, Mark. The Fracturing of the

American Corporate Elite (April 2013, Harvard

University Press).

In the aftermath of a financial crisis marked by bank-friendly bailouts and loosening campaign finance restrictions, a chorus of critics warns that business leaders have too much influence over American politics. Mark Mizruchi worries about the ways they exert too little. The Fracturing

of the American Corporate Elite advances the surprising argument that American CEOs,



seemingly more powerful today than ever, have abrogated the key leadership role they once played in addressing national challenges, with grave consequences for American society.

Following World War II, American business leaders observed an ethic of civic responsibility and enlightened self-interest. Steering a course of moderation and pragmatism, they accepted the legitimacy of organized labor and federal regulation of the economy and offered support, sometimes actively, as Congress passed legislation to build the interstate highway system, reduce discrimination in hiring, and provide a safety net for the elderly and needy. In the 1970s, however, faced with inflation, foreign competition, and growing public criticism, corporate leaders became increasingly confrontational with labor and government. As they succeeded in taming their opponents, business leaders paradoxically undermined their ability to act collectively. The acquisition wave of the 1980s created further pressures to focus on shareholder value and short-term gain rather than long-term problems facing their country.

Today’s corporate elite is a fragmented, ineffectual group that is unwilling to tackle the big issues, despite unprecedented wealth and political clout. Mizruchi’s sobering assessment of the dissolution of America’s business class helps explain the polarization and gridlock that stifle U.S. politics.

Sallaz, Jeff. Labor, Economy and Society (2013,

Polity Press).

Work is, and always will be, a central institution of society. What makes a capitalist society unique is that it treats the human capacity to engage in labor as a basic commodity. This can be a source of dynamism, as when

innovative firms raise wages to attract the best and brightest. But it can also be a source of misery, as

when one’s skills are suddenly rendered obsolete by forces beyond one’s control.

Jeffrey J. Sallaz asks us to rethink our basic assumptions about work. Drawing on cutting-edge theories within economic sociology and through the use of contemporary examples, he conceptualizes labor as embedded exchange. This draws attention to issues that all too frequently are overlooked in our public discourse and private imaginations: how various forms of work are classified and valued; how markets for labor operate in practice; and how people can challenge the central fiction that their work is simply a commodity to be bought and sold.

This readable and engaging book is suitable for both graduate and advanced undergraduate students. It will be of interest to economic sociologists, scholars of labor, and all of those who find themselves working for a living. Polity/dp/0745653677/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364051703&sr =1-1&keywords=jeffrey+sallaz

Smikun, Emanuel. Distributive Justice and Fair Exchange: How to Find and Use Social Standards

(2011, Aminso Press).

A re-reading of sociological classics suggests that distributive justice and fair exchange should be evaluated by standards of consistency between structures of status groups and of their shared class interests. Guided by this principle, the author evaluates

levels of unfairness in distributions of social status across American family, cultural, economic and political institutions and in exchange of shared class interests. Social injustice is characterized in terms of excessive deviations from standards of consistency with its main types defined as social underdevelopment, social deflation, social inflation, and social unsustainability. Theories of social injustice are constructed and tested in social quasi- experiments. A method is proposed for experimentally improving typical conditions of



social injustice by adjusting modes of distribution and exchange which touches on the problem of objectivity in social science. This problem is addressed with a comprehensive method of sociological deconstruction and reconstruction that includes a de-objectifying understanding of the classics, their de-subjectifying interpretation, re- subjectifying conceptualization, and re-objectifying modeling.

Son, Joonmo. Social Capital and Institutional Constraints: A Comparative Analysis of China, Taiwan, and the U.S. (2013, New York: Routledge).

The sociological concept of social capital has grown in popularity in recent years and research programs in North America, Europe, and East Asia have demonstrated how social capital has a significant impact on occupational mobility, community building, social

movement, and economic development.

This book uses new empirical data to test how social capital works in different societies with diverse political-economic and cultural institutions. Taking a comparative approach, this study focuses on data from three different societies, China, Taiwan, and the United States, in order to reveal the international commonalities and disparities in access to, and activation of, social capital in labor markets. In particular, this book tests whether political economic and cultural differences between capitalist and socialist economic systems and between Western and Confucian cultures create different types of individual social networks and usages. This comparison leads to Joonmo Son’s fundamental argument that the institutional constraints of a society’s political economy on the one hand, and culture on the other, profoundly impact on both the composition and utilization of social capital.

Based on rigorous statistical analysis, this book will be essential reading for students and scholars of

social capital, economic sociology, and comparative politics.

Wang, Junmin. State-Market Interactions in

China’s Reform Era: Local State Competition and

Global Market Building in the Tobacco Industry.

(2012, Routledge).

China today has the largest communist political regime and one of the most dynamic, fastest-growing, and largest economies in the world. Using a case study of China’s tobacco industry, this book analyses how the Chinese government was able to cultivate big state- owned firms that have

successfully embraced the global market.

The success of the Chinese economy and the many state-owned firms within it have given rise to a "Beijing Consensus," challenging almost every principle enshrined in the so-called "Washington Consensus" that espouses private ownership, free markets, and democracy. By examining two important political processes in contemporary China, ‘local state competition’ and ‘global-market building’, the book argues that the first process serves as a crucial basis for the second. It illustrates how the local governments involved themselves in building and shaping the tobacco market throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and how these domestic market dynamics created conditions for China’s recent embrace of the international market.

Offering an in-depth exploration of the political- economic processes in a key Chinese state industry, the book emphasizes that the key to understanding China’s political transition is to look at how the state has been shaped by its market-building projects both domestically and globally. It presents an important contribution to studies on Chinese Business and International Political Economy.



Articles published by section members

Abend, Gabriel. 2013. "The Origins of Business Ethics in American Universities, 1902-1936."

Business Ethics Quarterly 23(2): 171-205.

Avent-Holt, Dustin. 2012. “The Political Dynamics of Market Organization: Cultural Framing, Neoliberalism and the Case of Airline Deregulation.” Sociological Theory 30: 281-300.

Hopewell, Kristen. 2013. "New Protagonists in Global Economic Governance: Brazilian Agribusiness at the WTO." New Political Economy. OnlineFirst: January 9, 2013. DOI: 10.1080/13563467.2013.736957.

Vidal, Matt. 2012. “On the Persistence of Labor Market Insecurity and Slow Growth in the US: Reckoning with the Waltonist Growth Regime,”

New Political Economy 17,5: 543-564.

Vidal, Matt and Jamie Peck. 2012. “Sociological Institutionalism and the Socially Constructed Economy,” in Trevor Barnes, Jamie Peck, and Eric Sheppard (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Economic Geography, Wiley.

Woodberry, Robert. 2012. “The Missionary

Roots of Liberal Democracy.” American Political

Science Review 106(2): 244-274.

Chan, Cheris Sun-ching. 2012. Marketing

Death: Culture and the Making of a Life Insurance

Market in China. New York: Oxford University


Chan, Cheris Sun-ching. 2012. “Culture, State, and Varieties of Capitalism: A Comparative Study of Life Insurance Markets in Hong Kong and Taiwan.” British Journal of Sociology 63(1):97-122.

Gondal, Neha, and Paul D. McLean, “Linking tie-meaning with network structure: Variable connotations of personal lending in a multiple-network ecology.” Poetics 41 (2013) 122–150.

Calls for Papers

Call for Chapters for “Work and Family in the New Economy.” Series: Research in the Sociology of Work.

Editors: Samantha K. Ammons, University of Nebraska-Omaha, USA and Erin L. Kelly, University of Minnesota, USA.

This volume will focus on innovative research examining how the nature of paid work intersects with family and personal life today. This collection of cutting-edge research will be instrumental in shaping the next wave of work- family scholarship.

Submission deadline: October 1st 2013. To read the full call for articles


All submissions should be sent to Samantha K. Ammons:

If you have any questions please contact the volume editors at: or

Call for papers for special issue of Sociology A journal of the British Sociological Association Sociology and the Global Economic Crisis

Special Issue Call for Papers

Deadline for submissions: 31 August 2013

Editorial Team: Ana C. Dinerstein (University of Bath), Gregory Schwartz (University of

Bath) and Graham Taylor (University of the West of England)

We hear it, see it, and read about it everywhere; yet, to what extent are we able to translate the quotidian reality of the global economic crisis into adequate forms of knowledge? Has the crisis highlighted important limits in our sociological imagination linked either to the subdivision of our discipline or, more fundamentally, questioned the contemporary relevance of sociology as a social science?



This Special Issue of Sociology, to be published in October 2014, invites contributions that will:

·Explore how sociology can contribute to a better understanding of (the lived experience of) the global economic crisis; and/or

·Reflect on how social processes and movements confronting the crisis can inspire a new sociological imagination.

And aims to bring together contributions that:

·Bridge disciplines

·Unsettle conventions

·Cosmopolitanise epistemologies

·Renew sociology

The Editors welcome contributions on relevant topics in any field of social science engaging with sociological research, from early career and established academics, and from those outside academia.

Queries: To discuss initial ideas or seek editorial advice, please contact the Special Issue Editors by email on

Full Call for Papers can be viewed at obal_Economic_Crisis_SOC_SI_2014_CF P.pdf

Call for conference papers: The first Management Theory Conference will take place September 27-29, 2013 in San Francisco, California at the University of the Pacific’s San Francisco campus.

Please email papers directly to Jeffrey Miles ( ) by April 15th for consideration.

As articles in the Academy of Management journals have noted, there is a shortage of new management and organization theories. In order to help address this shortage, the mission of the conference is to facilitate, recognize, and reward the creation of new theories that advance our understanding of management and organizations. We want to motivate researchers to create new theories and to

provide researchers with a supportive forum where those new theories will be presented and discussed.

Submissions can be about any aspect of management and organizations, but submissions can only be new theory papers. The conference is comprised of new theory paper presentations grouped together in sessions by topic area.

Awards to be given at the conference:

Wiley/Jossey-Bass Outstanding New Theory

Award ($1,000).

Wiley/Jossey-Bass Outstanding Contribution to Management Theory Award ($1,500).

Keynote speakers include:

Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stanford University

Roy Suddaby, editor, Academy of Management Review

For more information, and to submit a paper, please visit the Management Theory Conference website at



Section Officers

Chair, Vicki Smith, University of California, Davis

Chair-Elect, Nina Bandelj, University of California, Irvine

Past Chair, Woody Powell, Stanford University

Secretary-Treasurer, Leslie McCall, Northwestern University

Council Members

Tim Bartley, The Ohio State University, 2014

Jens Beckert, Max Planck Institute, 2014

Adam Goldstein (Student Member), University of California, Berkeley, 2013

Alya Guseva, Boston University, 2013

Greta Krippner, University of Michigan, 2013

Yuval Millo, London School of Economics, 2014

Monica Prasad, Northwestern University, 2013

Sarah Quinn, University of Washington, 2015

Webpage Editor

Craig Tutterow, University of Chicago!

Newsletter Editor

Jennifer Haylett, University of California, Davis


Section Committees

Nominations Committee:

Chair: Alya Guseva, Sociology, Boston University

Tim Bartley, Sociology, Ohio State University

Monica Prasad, Sociology, Northwestern

Membership Committee:

Chair: Emily Barman, Sociology, Boston University

Brandy Aven, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon

Consultant: Alya Guseva, Sociology, Boston University


Non-book cover photos courtesy of unless otherwise stated.












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