American Sociological Association

Economics, Markets and Consumerism

Economics is not merely the allocation of scarce resources, and consumer preferences are not simply individual choices unaffected by social ties or cultural meanings. The sociological perspective on economics, markets, and consumerism illuminates the social relations, structural conditions, and cultural meanings that constitute markets and the social lives animating them.

Research in economic sociology and the sociology of consumption have informed policy debates on labor market discrimination, industrial policy, wealth inequality, financial inclusion, household finance, and consumer tastes. Sociology also explores social concerns about consumption and identity, networks and marketplace inequalities, and the utopian possibilities of more equitable economic systems.

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