The embedded market and ideology critique

Pauline Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When the Global Financial Crisis hit, major political economists were able to boast that they had long warned that "crazy times" were coming. By contrast, leading sociologists seem to have been wrong footed. Totalizing narratives of a new "risk society", "second modernity" and the like appeared to have sacrificed the grounds for weighing up the costs and damages of contemporary capitalism. Made famous by Karl Polanyi, the concept of the embedded market suggests a differentiated diagnosis of our times that should allow sociology to re-enter the discussion as a critic of an ideological attempt to block public discussions about losses and damages of contemporary capitalism. The following paper will explore several readings of this concept and will evaluate their capacity to revive sociology's critical powers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-322
Number of pages21
JournalCritical Horizons
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Boltanski and Chiapello
  • embedded markets
  • neo-liberalism
  • Polanyi


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