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Towards a comparative economic sociology of market organization: why the socially expected durability of goods matters
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
(English)In: European Journal of Sociology/ Archives Européennes de Sociologie, ISSN 0003-9756Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

What can a good’s durability tell us about its market organization? This paper argues that the socially expected durability of goods is one of their most important features. It illuminates temporal and material aspects of market organization and social change across different markets. While recent literature in the sociology of markets tends to emphasize financial goods, intangible assets, and the service economy, markets for material durable and nondurable consumer goods are still surprisingly pervasive in everyday life and the household economy, as well as in modern economies’ basic infrastructure. Based on a comparison of the extreme cases of durable housing and fresh fish markets, we come to the general finding that the higher a good’s expected durability, the smaller the share of its new production well be and the larger its aftermarkets. Furthermore, it will be more tightly linked to credit and insurance markets, and its market will be more volatile in the short term, but more inert in the long term. Beyond this static distinction, we show how socio-technical mechanisms can “durabilize” or “dedurabilize” goods and hence change their market form. By comparing markets along the durability dimension, this paper contributes to a comparative sociology of market organization that goes beyond single-market studies, while at the same time opening up space for a more dynamic understanding of social change and market segmentation over time.

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Sociology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-398809OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-398809DiVA, id: diva2:1377123
Available from: 2019-12-11 Created: 2019-12-11 Last updated: 2019-12-11

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CiteExportLink to record
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