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  • Published: 1 Sep 2017
  • DOI: 10.4324/9781138201521-HET6-1


  • Abstract
  • From 1760 to the 1870s
  • Herbert Spencer and Stanley Jevons
  • The ‘Great Decades’: 1890–1920
  • Durkheim: economic sociology against political economy
  • Pareto: economic sociology as the final layer of political economy
  • Weber: economic sociology as a bridge between theory and history
  • The 1920s
  • Conclusion
  • References

Economic Sociology

Université Paris-Sorbonne, France


Economic sociology is the study of economic activity in relation to various dimensions of social life, such as family, gender, morals, law and politics. This approach rejects the idea that political economy is a separate science. From the beginning to the present, the history of economic sociology is deeply intertwined with the history of political economy; however, it is convenient to start with the end of the eighteenth century and then to focus on the last decades of the nineteenth century when economic sociology was explicitly made a part of economic theory in Stanley Jevons’ proposal to redesign the structure of political economy. Economic sociology blossomed from the 1890s to the 1920s, with major economists and sociologists such as Emile Durkheim, Vilfredo Pareto and Max Weber buttressing the intellectual development of an economic sociology.