The Conference is organized for the sections Sociological Theory (responsible member of the speaker group: Wolfgang Ludwig Schneider) and Economic Sociology (responsible member of the speaker group: Andrea Maurer) of the German Sociological Association (DGS)
The marketization of contemporary society, especially of non-economic sub-systems such as health care, education, arts, or science, has been a hot topic of public debates as well as a subject of many empirical studies. Some of the relevant keywords of political discussions are “liberalization”, “deregulation”, “privatization”, “commodification”, “managerialism”, “new public management”, “entrepreneurialism” and, above all, “neoliberalism”. These phrases do not all mean the same but have considerable overlaps, and their common denominator appears to be marketization. Since the market as a basic governance mechanism is primarily associated with the economic sub-system of modern society, marketization can be seen as the mechanism by which other societal sub-systems are subjected to a deliberate policy of economizing. In other words, economizing can be understood as an increasing importance of economic considerations for financial profits, on the one hand, and costs, on the other, in particular societal sub-systems or even society-wide; and the major mechanism which exerts a corresponding pressure on actors is to expose them to market forces.
Marketization and economizing are topics of a number of research perspectives in sociology and other social sciences. By now these perspectives are barely connected with each other, and each one of them is still work in progress.
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