towards an economic sociology of race

Economic sociology and the sociology of race have very little contact. In a new working paper, Laura Garbes and I document this pattern, and then offer suggestions for how economic sociology could incorporate insights from the sociology of race:

Towards an Economic Sociology of Race

Race is central to economic life, but race is not central to economic sociology. We argue that economic sociologists should not treat race as a feature of (some) individuals, but rather treat racism as a constitutive, structuring force, analytically co-equal with capitalism, patriarchy, and nationalism. We document how canonical and award-winning works of economic sociology do not discuss race and racism, and do not engage with the contemporary sociology of race. We introduce six key insights from the sociology of race and suggest how they could influence economic sociology: the emergence of race out of racism, an understanding of racism as structural, the role of whiteness, the intersections between racism and other systems of oppression, the ideology of colorblind racism, and the fundamental connections between racism and capitalism. These insights point to the potential for developing a “racialized economies” and “racialized markets” approach that unites insights from both subfields.

This paper was inspired in part by a line of similar papers examining how other subfields, like social movements, political sociology, and organizations, could benefit from engaging deeply with race and racism (as discussed in a post here). We think economic sociology is ripe for the same treatment. This is the first public draft of the paper and we’d very much appreciate your comments!

Author: Dan Hirschman

I am a sociologist interested in the use of numbers in organizations, markets, and policy. For more info, see here.

2 thoughts on “towards an economic sociology of race”

  1. Sounds like an interesting paper. Will check it out. If you haven’t already, you might find certain publications and authors in Caribbean sociology since the 1960s are a fruitful place to look for research where economic sociology and sociology of race blend like in the work of Rhoda Reddock, Oliver Cox, Claudia Jones, Walter Rodney and Norman girvan to name some,


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