Drawing on social studies of economization, French pragmatic sociology, and regulation theory, my focus in this paper is on marketization as a process giving shape to concrete markets as diverse entities. The paper starts from the simple assumption that a particular economic entity always emerges at the crossroads of a variety of institutional logics that are not reducible to each other. What is referred to as a particular market, a business firm, a national economy, or a concrete value chain assumes form in an ambivalent process that articulates particular understandings of what counts as “economic”. This includes competing ideas about market exchange, private and state planning, or the role of social community, mobilized by academic scholars and practitioners, and variably accommodated, resisted and translated by those subjects to these ideas.
Christian Berndt is Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK in 1998 and his habilitation from the University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt in 2004. From 2004 to 2010 he held a position as a Professor in Economic Geography at the University of Frankfurt. His early research concerned regional restructuring and labor relations in Germany and the industrialization of the northern Mexican border with special emphasis on Ciudad Juárez and the way “southern labor” is commodified. He has since been involved in attempts to introduce a spatial perspective to the interdisciplinary field of social studies of economization. Labeled “geographies of marketization” the focus is on the market as the ideal site of rational decision-making and on political attempts to align our socio-spatial realities with this utopian idea. Recent publications include assembling market b/orders: violence, dispossession, and economic development in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, behavioural economics, experimentalism and the marketization of development, and neoliberal austerity and the marketisation of elderly care (with Karin Schwiter and Jasmin Truong)