Economic sociology and its place in the system of social and...

Economic sociology and its place in the system of social and humanitarian knowledge: economic sociology and economic theory

The American sociologist P. Berger defined sociology as the science of the "man in society" and "society in man". The model of a person used by it, those its unified properties, which it regards as significant and from which it abstracts, is distracted is of fundamental importance for revealing the subject of sociology in general and any branch sociological discipline.

The formation of economic science required the formation of the model "economic man" - homo esotopus, and in sociology a model of "sociological person" - homo sociologicus.

The economy, studying certain actions of a person in society, abstracts from social ties, cultural values, moral norms, ideological and religious beliefs, power relations, traditions, emotional reactions, etc. She is interested in economic person as a subject:

1) isolated, atomized, considered outside of relations with society, other people, social groups (related, ethnic, professional, etc.), social institutions state, family, church, etc.);

2) focused exclusively on economic interest - to maximize profits, profitability, efficiency; all non-economic factors, such as considerations of religious faith, patriotism, loyalty, etc., are completely excluded from his motivation;

3) absolutely rational with respect to their economic activities, always calculating the most effective way to achieve goals; it is not affected by chance, affects, subconscious or not fully realized, irrational intuitions;

4) selfish, focused solely on their own interests and goals (including purely hedonic properties) and not taking into account considerations of solidarity, morality and duty, honor and conscience, as well as the interests and goals of neither other people nor society;

5) independent, being outside the relations of domination and subordination, outside of power, realizing only its own interests and goals;

6) Absolutely informed and qualified, always having the complete knowledge and knowledge necessary to make the right decision;

7) static, abstracted from historical development.

It is clear that in real life such a person does not exist, it is an abstraction created by the logical bringing to the absolute of a number of properties employed in the economy of man. Such abstraction is necessary for the convenience of cognitive activity in economic science, but outside of it it deprives us of the opportunity to explore significant aspects of the economic life of society. After all, a real participant in the economy - an entrepreneur, a manager, an employee, a seller, a buyer, etc. - is never completely isolated from society and from other people. He is a citizen of the state, has close and friendly ties, religious, political and moral beliefs, observes traditions and customs, norms of behavior of the society in which he lives, adheres to certain tastes, aesthetic preferences, experiences love and hatred, joy and anger, gratitude and envy. Before engaging in economic activities, a person of any society acquires professional skills, and for this he learns the language and norms of the culture of his society, comes into contact with state bodies and other authorities, takes a free niche in already established economic ties and plays the role assigned to him. If we regard a participant in economic life exclusively as an "economic man," it is impossible to understand why we sometimes prefer an expensive commodity to a cheap one, we refuse high-paying work in favor of a less profitable, but more convenient and interesting, why an entrepreneur voluntarily spends part of the profits for charitable purposes , why the employee does not necessarily increase the productivity of labor for the sake of higher wages, etc. All this makes us look at the social nature of economic action, > its social motives and consequences. Thus, the economic life and economic actions of people are considered as socially conditioned and fall into the subject field of sociology, and the subject of economic activity is regarded as a "sociological person".

"Sociological person" , unlike the "economic man", is a product of social relations, its actions are based on values, norms, traditions, developed by society. He, besides economic interest, is guided by moral, religious, cultural, aesthetic and other motives; in its actions, it focuses on the assessments and opinions of other people, on the social groups to which it belongs, on the need to maintain and optimize ties and integrate into existing institutional structures. Thus, the sociological person not atomized and not selfish, his actions are focused on others. In addition, it is built into hierarchical and power relations, forced by someone to obey and in turn dominates over someone. Sociological person is always placed in the systems of differentiated social groups and communities, possesses the specifics conditioned by class, ethnic, confessional and other affiliation.

A special issue is the awareness of the "sociological person", which can be limited to either the lack of or limited access to the information necessary for decision-making, and the lack of the necessary skills to interpret and use information that prevent it from being perceived by socioculturally conditioned information "noises" . Therefore, people often act not so much on the basis of rational choice of an optimal solution, as intuitively or based on established habits, traditions, experience, or even emotionally - for example, financial behavior of people, their treatment of money is often due not only to rational calculation, but also to " , passions

Another important difference between the sociological person from economics is that it is always considered in the context of development, becoming appropriate to the development of those social groups to which it belongs, and those forms of activity with which it is engaged.

Therefore, for economic sociology, the most important problem of analysis is the action of carriers of different economic roles and functions in their historical formation, for example, the historical evolution of types of entrepreneurship, economic organizations, wage labor.

To summarize the differences between basic human abstractions in economic theory and sociology using Fig. 1.1.

Differences of basic human abstractions in economic theory and sociology

Fig. 1.1. Differences of basic human abstractions in economic theory and sociology

The problem is that if the model is an "economical person" represents us a rational egoist, oriented solely at maximizing his own profit, then the model "sociological person" creates an abstraction dependent on society, from the evaluations and opinions of others who mechanically fulfill the norms and share the proposed values ​​of the passive "social robot".

In real life, people behave differently than the speculative models created by scientists, and the tasks of sociologists are to investigate reality. Therefore, the object of their attention are deviations from models, consisting in the fact that a person not only follows social norms, but, as a rule, freely interprets them or even acts contrary to these norms. People do not just accept the values ​​imposed on them, but also evaluate them, they choose. In the process of adaptation to social reality, a person does not simply "lose" role, and chooses them according to their own inclinations, conditioned both by personal characteristics and, what is important for sociologists, their habitus (P. Bourdieu), conditioned by social history. People not only act rationally, but also choose different types of rational action, differently assessing their capabilities, goals, resources of action. All this puts before sociologists specific tasks of typologizing the interrelationships between social and economic, analyzing the forms of their mutual transition.

In addition, within the framework of phenomenological sociology, social psychoanalysis and a number of other directions, it was concluded that human behavior in society is far from always rational: it is oriented not only and not so much to clearly defined goals and adequate ways to achieve them, but on fuzzy "ordinary knowledge", on the usual stereotypes, on the emotional, moral atmosphere around, on the behavior of other people. All this is brought into the model by the "sociological person" element of irrationality, uncertainty, spontaneity, which is also of interest to the sociologist. With such adjustments, the sociological person already appears as a carrier of actions with unintended consequences that are not counted either from the positions of either economic goal-oriented rationality or social value rationality.

thematic pictures

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)