The Rule of the Market: Economic Constitutionalism Understood Sociologically

Frerichs, Sabine (2017) The Rule of the Market: Economic Constitutionalism Understood Sociologically. In: Sociological Constitutionalism. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. pp. 241-264. ISBN 9781107124042


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Setting out from the works of Max Weber and Karl Polanyi, this chapter outlines a sociology of economic constitutionalism. The starting point is a functional definition of economic constitution as the law constituting the market order, no matter if it is public or private, national or international, official or informal law. Economic constitutionalism is understood as a system of thought, which emphasises the role of a liberal economic constitution in integrating the global economy. Adapting Weber's ideal-typical method, the economic constitution is conceived as a constitutional ideal type, next to juridical constitution, political constitution, social constitution, and security constitution. Sociologically speaking, these ideal types capture different constitutional rationalities, which are all culturally significant but not equally successful in the global age. Drawing on Polanyi's work, which exposes the self-regulating market as an artefact of economic thinking, the argument proceeds by highlighting the constitutive role of economics in constructing the law of the globalised market society. After economic law came to be embedded in national welfare states in the twentieth century, economic constitutionalism furthers the opening up of national laws and economies. In contrast to the rule of law, the rule of the market is inherently transnational in character.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is the submitted version of a chapter to be published as: Frerichs, Sabine, 2017: The Rule of the Market: Economic Constitutionalism Understood Sociologically. In: Blokker, Paul; Thornhill, Chris (eds.): Sociological Constitutionalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 241-264. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. For further information on the final publication, see:
Keywords: economic constitution / market society / Max Weber / Karl Polanyi / functional differentiation / ideal types / embeddedness / commodification / economic sociology / sociology of law
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Soziologie u Empirische Sozialforschung
Version of the Document: Submitted
Variance from Published Version: Minor
Depositing User: Elena Simukovic
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2017 13:00
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2017 05:11
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