27th Annual EAEPE Conference, University of Genova, Italy, 17.-19. September 2015 (http://eaepe.org), Research Area [B]: Economic Sociology. “THE SOCIAL LOGICS OF ECONOMICS” and “ECONOMIC SOCIOLOGY AND HETERODOX ECONOMICS”. By Jens Maesse and Hanno Pahl. For this year’s EAEPE Conference the research area Economic Sociology invites presentations for two sessions covering the following topics/perspectives:
(1) The Social Logics of Economics
The cognitive as well as the institutional structures of the academic discipline of economics differ significantly from those in the other social and cultural sciences. Its internal modes of organization are characterized by a rather strong hierarchy and dense integration, with, for instance, a concentration of cognitive and institutional power. The same holds true for its impact on society: Economic knowledge often dominates political and public discourses due to its hegemonic position in respect of defining problems and delivering proper solutions, outshining non-economic forms of expertise by far. Reflections on the epistemological and (to a lesser degree) institutional characteristics of mainstream economics have traditionally been carried out by economic methodologists, historians of ideas, or philosophers of science. During the last two decades, these studies of economics and the power of economic knowledge have been supplemented, and sometimes challenged, by more empirically oriented investigations, originating from research areas like the sociology of economics or the social studies of finance. The session is open for all kinds of investigations into the social and cognitive structures of economics and is envisaged as a forum to discuss the relationships between these various strands of reflection.
(2) Economic Sociology and Heterodox Economics
Heterodox economics as well as economic sociology are critical of standard neoclassical economics and try to elaborate and push forward alternative approaches. This does not only concern different foundations and research topics, but also questions of legitimate scientific methods and reasonable forms of inquiry. While mainstream economics almost exclusively proceeds along the pathways of mathematical modelling and econometrics, both economic sociology and heterodox economics exhibit a broad spectrum of methods (ranging from network analysis to ethnographic field work to agent-based-modelling, to name but a few). The session is devoted especially to work at the intersections of economic sociology and heterodox economics. This includes case studies and empirical work as well as more conceptual reflections. What are – beyond mere pluralism – meaningful forms of interaction, communication, and mutual understanding between the various schools of heterodox economics and the strands of economic sociology?