Economic sociology and economics have tried to explain the organization and stability of market capitalism mostly by arguing for the effects of social structure on the patterning of relations, or for the role of the price system in balancing the demands of individual economic actors. In North America, the primary alternative to structural and individualist theories of market order has been network theory, a meso-level attempt to bridge over- and undersocialized views of actors. In Europe, the primary attempt to develop more realistic economics has centered on the role of conventions in shaping economic activity. We describe theories of market order, show how convention theory and related approaches represent a novel alternative, and suggest how convention theory can supplement network theory and institutional approaches to understanding market order.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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