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Viviana Zelizer at Columbia University: Debates on a New Agenda for Economic Sociology

Reporte de Pilar Opazo desde NYC.

During last week, Viviana Zelizer visited the Sociology Department at Columbia University as part of a colloquium series called “Distinguished Visiting Scholars.” As many of you may already know, Columbia University is Viviana’s alma mater, so her visit was full of lively stories of her time being a graduate student and memories of personal conversations with faculty members at Columbia, such as the sociologist Chuck Tilly, who greatly inspired her work. Through a sequence of three insightful presentations, Zelizer explained her latest theoretical developments on the concepts of “relational work” and “circuits of commerce.” She pointed out that the notion of “embeddedness” has reached momentum in the new economic sociology theorizing. While considering how pathbreaking Granovetter’s piece is, it still maintains a division of labor between value and values, the economy and society. Consistent with Harrison White and David Stark’s accounts, Zelizer called for the need to search for new paradigms in economic sociology that help us see the social and economic spheres as necessarily intertwined. In her words, “this is a great time for a discussion of the economy. The recent crisis posited new challenges and the need for alternative explanations.” (Zelizer, public lecture March 7th, 2011).   Continue reading