Maintaining Economic Order

Special Report: Putting the Economy in Order
Politics of Economic Disembeddedness and Re-embeddedness
By Vincent Gayon, Benjamin Lemoine

The sociology of economic policies argued in this article investigates the permanent work of construction, naturalization and maintenance of the economic order made by a multitude of actors and technical instruments. It consists in describing how the doctrinal project of economy disembeddedness takes shape, detaching itself from the political and social institutions. This program is developed through four steps. First, by offering a constructivist reading of Karl Polanyi writings and highlighting the author’s insistence on the uncertain and contested process of production and exchanges’ practices emancipation vis-à-vis traditional guardianship. Then, by showing how the invention of the economy as an autonomous sphere of activity raises crowd resistance and « reversed economic worlds » settling their own standards and laws by opposition to the economy « rules » and values. The after World War Two configuration is revisited as an exemplary laboratory of Politics and State re-embeddedness of the economy. Then, neoliberal disembeddedness of global capital markets reshapes accounts of public and private powers. These economic orders simultaneously mark out areas of access to and, conversely, of non-entitlement to public and political discussion.


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