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Tempo Social

Print version ISSN 0103-2070On-line version ISSN 1809-4554


BECKERT, Jens. Re-imagining economic sociology: fictional expectations and capitalist dynamics. Tempo soc. [online]. 2017, vol.29, n.1, pp.164-189. ISSN 1809-4554.

This article seeks to contribute to the explanation of the restless dynamism of capitalism that we have observed since the Industrial Revolution. When making decisions actors form expectations about outcomes. Since the future is open, actors are confronted with the uncertainty of the outcomes of their decisions. What can expectations be under conditions of uncertainty? To answer this question, the article introduces the notion of fictional expectations which can be used to describe decisions made under conditions of an open and uncertain future. The article applies the concept of fictional expectations to the analysis of four crucial processes of capitalism: money and credit, investments, innovation, and consumption. The main thrust of the article is that, in order to understand economic action in capitalism and the meaning actors attach to their decisions, actors’ perceptions of the future need to take center stage.

Keywords : Expectations; Uncertainty; Capitalism; Fiction; Futures.

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