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Crossing the Boundary of Economics and Sociology: The Case of Vilfredo Pareto

Patrik Aspers
The American Journal of Economics and Sociology
Vol. 60, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 519-545
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3487932
Page Count: 27
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Crossing the Boundary of Economics and Sociology: The Case of Vilfredo Pareto
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Abstract

The aim of the paper is to present the economic sociology of Vilfredo Pareto. We argue that Pareto represents a mode of thinking that has not been used in economic sociology and barely considered in the other branches of sociology. We reject the habitual bifurcation of Pareto into "the economist" and "the sociologist." Pareto stresses the non-logical parts of human life, and he provides empirical examples of this in his writing. He was occupied with the dynamics in society as a result mainly of non-logical actions. We show how one may speak of a distinctly Paretian economic sociology, which primarily has its origin in his theoretical discussions. We also show that Pareto conducted empirical studies drawing from his version of economic sociology. Included is finally a presentation, as well as a discussion of Pareto's idea of rentiers and speculators, which is followed up by a more general discussion of economic types in the market.

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