Karl Polanyi and the Law of Market Society

Frerichs, Sabine (2019) Karl Polanyi and the Law of Market Society. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie (ÖZS), 44 (2). pp. 197-208. ISSN 1862-2585

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Karl Polanyi started his career as a doctor of law and practiced law for a while; but he did not become a legal scholar. As an economic historian, anthropologist, or sociologist, he was concerned with the relation of economy and society. But even though law is an important factor in mediating this relationship, Polanyi gave little attention to the law as such. As part of an endeavour to advance a "Polanyian" economic sociology of law, this article develops the "law of market Society" as an analytical category. For thi s purpose, three argumentative strategies are combined. First, the article draws on The Great Transformation to reconstruct the role of law in the processes of commodification and decommodification. Second, it turns to Marxist scholarship to explore the conceptual link between law and economics and to ponder to what extent law itself can become a commodity. Third, it links Polanyi's approach with American institutionalism, and Commons' work in particular, to show how the evolution of the "law of market Society" can also be understood as a collective enterprise which continuously evolves. It is argued that these perspectives complement each other and help to bring the law back in where it is missing.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Open access funding provided by Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU).
Keywords: Karl Polanyi, Law, United States, Institutional economics, John R. Commons; Karl Polanyi, Recht, Vereinigte Staaten, Institutionenökonomik, John R. Commons
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Soziologie u Empirische Sozialforschung
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: Gertraud Novotny
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2019 08:43
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2019 08:59
Related URLs:
FIDES Link: https://bach.wu.ac.at/d/research/results/90720/
URI: https://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/6928


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