Established in the year 2000, the Research Committee on Economic Sociology aims to promote the exchange between economic sociologists working in Switzerland and thus to strengthen the position of economic sociology in the Swiss academic landscape. To this end, the committee organizes regular conferences and informal meetings of its members. The theoretical and thematic orientation of the economic sociology promoted by the committee is understood to be very broad in order to take into account the diversity of the discipline in Switzerland.

The committee supports all researchers in Switzerland who analyze economic processes and structures at the micro- meso- or macro-level from a sociological perspective using theoretical reflection and qualitative and/or quantitative methods. It does so in particular by organizing panels and semi-plenaries at the bi-annual conference of the Swiss Sociological Assocation, as well as by organizing mid-term conferences on specific topics, in collaboration with members of the research committee.

As a meeting point of different language areas with their respective research traditions, Swiss economic sociology should also be established as a place of international dialogue and cross-linguistic inspiration. In addition, the committee aims to promote studies in economic sociology and publication projects in order to deepen empirical knowledge of the Swiss economy and make it more widely visible.

Although the analysis of economic aspects of society is a core competence of sociology, its voice is rarely heard in political discourse and in the mass media. The committee aims to counteract this trend by offering researchers interested in economic sociology a forum for the exchange of experiences and dialogue, thus contributing to more resonance outside the university sphere. In particular, the committee aims to emphasize and cultivate a shared sociological identity beyond all intradisciplinary controversies.

Call for abstracts: Congress of the Swiss Sociological Association 2024, September 9-11, Basel

Panel organized by the Research Network Economic Sociology

(Léna Pellandindi-Simányi, Università della Svizzera italiana, Philip Balsiger, University of Neuchâtel)

New vulnerabilities of market exclusion and inclusion

Economic sociologists have long been interested in studying the vulnerabilities created by markets. On the one hand, market inclusion has been shown to produce manifold vulnerabilities. Markets have been said to erode communities and create environmental risks and hazards. Neoliberalism has been criticized for extending the market logic to all realms of life and individualizing responsibility. The recent rise of digital platforms has been associated with new forms of data tracking and algorithmic control through which people are categorized, generally without their knowledge, which leads to the exacerbation of existing vulnerabilities and the creation of new ones. Furthermore, the structure of the platform economy where platforms act as gatekeepers creates forms of dependency that make market participants highly vulnerable to platform policies.

On the other hand, market exclusion produces vulnerabilities, too. Being excluded from the use of certain goods and services is one of the historical forms of discrimination against ethnic minorities, women and the poor. Recently, unequal market access to financial products, produced by redlining, credit scoring, and other “classification situations” have garnered attention as key vehicles for producing inequalities. Having access to digital platforms is increasingly a requirement for getting a job, having a business, and participating in social life generally – highlighting the vulnerabilities stemming from the lack of inclusion in specific markets.

The goal of this panel is to look at different instances where markets create vulnerabilities around the tension of inclusion and exclusion from markets, in both digital markets and other contexts, such as financial markets, housing, healthcare, etc. We specifically want to look at a) how and when markets produce forms of vulnerabilities, b) processes of resistance to such vulnerabilities, and c) how they are addressed by different forms of regulation and social movements.

Please submit your abstract of maximum 2000 characters by 5 January 2024 to

Call for Papers for a special issue of the Swiss Journal of Sociology

“The Transformation of Banking from a Sociological Perspective”

Special issue editors: Philip Balsiger, University of Neuchâtel, Léna Pellandindi-Simányi, Università della Svizzera italiana,

Call for papers

With the financialization of our societies, banking has become one of the key sectors of contemporary capitalism. In recent years, however, the role of banks in finance has been increasingly undermined and the taken-for-granted aim of banks as solely financial actors have been put into question. In the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008, the traditional business model of banks came under pressure: 1. The political reaction to the crisis involved stricter regulation in areas such as capital requirements, consumer protection, anti-money laundering and tax evasion. At the same time, digital platforms and the proliferation of smart devices opened new avenues for the finance industry. These changes have shifted the advantage to emerging actors and business areas of the financial sector, such as fintech companies, alternative finance and crypto markets. The new actors of finance are smaller, rely on different organizational structures and champion future-oriented business models. While banks were the archetype of the large, bureaucratic and hierarchical corporation that nurtured stable and long-term relationships with the state, civil society and their clients, fintech and crypto firms are perceived as agile, lean and essentially digital firms that disrupt the traditional functioning of the financial system. 2. While previously banks were considered as primarily financial actors serving financial aims, the growing recognition of the impact of banks’ (and other investors’) investment decisions on climate change has placed them under increasing environmental scrutiny. Central to the sustainable finance debates is that civil society and state regulations are holding banks accountable for the climate change consequences of their investments. Responding to such criticism and to the rising demand to incorporate aims beyond finance into their business model, incumbent actors from the banking field have integrated sustainability criteria through ESG indicators. We particularly welcome papers on the following dimensions: a) Wealth management, inequality and taxation b) The organization, management and regulation of financial activities c) Changing relationships between financial institutions and their consumers and the everyday uses of finance d) The political organization, political strategies and lobby activities of financial institutions

Please send your abstract to Philip Balsiger, and Léna Pellandindi- Simányi, by the 5th January, 2024.

Timeline: 5 Jan 2024: Deadline for the submission abstracts

25 Jan 2024: Notification of accepted abstracts

1 April 2024: Deadline for the full papers

Mid-term workshops and conferences

2023: The Transformation of Banking from a Sociological Perspective: Digital and Sustainable Challenges, University of Lausanne

September 2022: The Economic Sociology of Market Places, University of St. Gallen

September 2021: Markets and Power in the Digital Age, University of Neuchâtel

Philip Balsiger, Université de Neuchâtel

Léna Pellandindi-Simányi, Università della Svizzera italiana

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