A Critical Evaluation of the Commodification Thesis
The Sociological Review, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 525-542, 2002
18 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2002
A recurring theme across the social sciences is that non-capitalist production is disappearing, albeit slowly and unevenly, and is being replaced by a commodified economy in which goods and services are produced by capitalist firms for a profit under conditions of market exchange. In this paper, however, I evaluate critically this commodification thesis. Even in the heartland of commoditisation - the advanced economies - large economic spaces are identified where alternative economic relations and motives prevail. Rather than view them as leftovers of pre-capitalist formations, this paper argues that they are the result of both the contradictions inherent in the structural shifts associated with the pursuit of commodification as well as the existence of ‘cultures of resistance’. As such, they are viewed as ‘spaces of hope’ which highlight the demonstrable construction and practice of alternative social relations and logic’s of work outside profit-motivated market-orientated exchange.
Keywords: economic sociology, commodification, marketization, informal economy, informalization, informal sector, market societies
JEL Classification: O17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation