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Revista de Sociologia e Política

On-line version ISSN 1678-9873


STEINER, Philippe. Market, transaction and social ties: an Economic Sociology approach. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2012, vol.20, n.42, pp.111-120. ISSN 1678-9873.

The present article examines different conceptions of the market, from the perspective of a New Economic Sociology. We focus in particular on different social relations of exchange, attempting to distinguish market (commercial) relations from others. In this regard, commercial exchanges are, as defined by classical and neoclassical economic theories among other elements, regulated by prices, characterized by their impersonality and potential anonymity, and - according to the recent terms that André Orléan has used to refer to them- by the connected hypothesis of "nomenclature" and "perfect predictability". Exchanges that are not market- incorporated, on the other hand, include a wide spectrum of social relations involving material, emotional and intellectual interaction and exchange, yet do not include the previously mentioned elements. In other words, in addition to the non-verifiability of the hypotheses of nomenclature and perfect predictability, they are relations which are not regulated by the price system and in which there are (or may be) emotional connections. Thus, the gift is an important case of non-commercial exchange. In order to illustrate this variety of differences, we look at the case of organ donation. This example provides evidence of the problems brought about by positing all exchanges as pertaining to the sphere of commercial relations.

Keywords : Market; Commercial Transactions; Non-Commercial Transactions; The Gift; Economic Sociology; Organ Transplants.

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