The Review of Austrian Economics

, Volume 21, Issue 2–3, pp 135–150 | Cite as

The market as a social space: On the meaningful extraeconomic conversations that can occur in markets

  • Virgil Henry StorrEmail author


Prominent economic sociologist Richard Swedberg has argued that economists have failed to develop a theory of the market that recognizes it as a “social phenomenon in its own right.” While this may be true of mainstream economics, the Austrian school’s theory of the market is much richer than the standard view. For Austrians, the market has always been a central concern. And Austrians have always argued that the market is a social structure where both exchange and competition occurs. Still, Austrians give little more than scant attention to the noneconomic sociality that occurs in markets. The market, however, is both a conversation and an arena where meaningful conversations can occur. This paper is an effort to focus attention on the market as a social space where social activity (beyond competition and exchange) takes place and where noneconomic relationships and economic relationships develop.


The market Social space Swedberg Lefebvre Gudeman Granovetter 

JEL codes

B25 B41 054 Z13 



I am grateful to Paul Lewis, Emily Chamlee-Wright, Stephen Gudeman, Sanford Ikeda, Chris Coyne, Nicola Virgill-Rolle, John Rolle, T. Clark Durant, and the participants in New York University’s Colloquium on Market Institutions and Economic Processes and the Mercatus Center Graduate Student Paper Workshop for the comments on earlier drafts of this paper. The standard disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mercatus CenterGeorge Mason UniversityArlingtonVirginia

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