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Convergences entre économie et sociologie autour du concept de réseau social

Abstract : It is welknown that the historical link between economics and sociology is the conflict. But I show that the importance of this conflict is underestimated by the economists. Because if the sociology, initially positivist, built itself by opposition to the classic economy, all the marginalist schools too built itself by opposition to the positivist sociology. When the theoretical dialogue exists, it is within the framework of the economic sociology. Some people would like to reduce the economic sociology at a branch of the sociology [Smelser, Swedberg, 1994]. I show that the traditional shape taken by the economic sociology passes by the reconstruction of the other science (and not the cooperation) and that this process of reconstruction is used by the authors of eatch science, and not only by the sociologists whose follow Durkheim. Now present, the sociological pillar of the economic sociology is strongly linked with the name of the sociologist Mark Granovetter and Max Weber [Smelser, Swedberg, 1994]. This approach admits some affinities with the institutionnalist economic school. Some other affinities with Alan Kirman's works were also underlined. [Steiner, 2005]. By selecting three concepts stemming from the new economic sociology (the social capital, the social embeddedness and the social network), I show that in fact Alan Kirman represents not an isolate case but numerous economists. The concepts of social capital and social social embeddedness can be reduce to the concept of social network. So it is logical to limited the study of the social networks to the only analysis of the social networks exposed by Linton Freeman or Stanley Wasserman [Freeman, 2004]. Now, an important différence separates two definitions of the networks. The first considers them like real objects (substantivism). The second presents them as pure mathematical concepts (structuralism) [Mercklé, 2004]. I show that this rupture continue in the core of the social networks analysis. It is known that the structural approach of networks is dominant, and form the most advanced state of the social networks analysis [Mercklé, on 2004]. But if this approach exists, it is because the sociologists who stablished it (Harrison White and Mark Granovetter) assumed social structure and network social are the same concept. In other words, the nature of convergences between economists and sociologists is not methodological (the structural definition of social networks) but theoretical (the postulate according to social structure and social network are one). In a second time, I show too that the networks economics, widely animate by Alan Kirman from 1990s, is setted in a theoretical framework where the system of the prices is determined by a reticular social structure. Among all the economic approaches which use the concept of network, the networks economics is thus the one which is the closest to the sociology of Harrison White and to Mark Granovetter. The first, I then attempted to do the history of this networks economics. Now, it's sure that the most important link beetwen sociology and economics is the theoretical relation beetwen economic sociology (formalized or not by the network social analysis) and the networks economics. So, I tried to describe this methodological and theoretical nearness, by comparing the available mathematical models. The networks economics rests a formalism capable of standardizing the form of most of the economic models [Sanjeev Goyal, on 2007]. But I regret this meta model is not finished yet. I thus attempted to perfect its formalization. Then, I verified that this meta model could support the integrality of the social networks analysis. The aim of my thesis is thus demonstrated : the concept of social network allows the fondation of a methodological and theoretical convergence between the networks economics and the structural sociology formalized according to the social networks analysis. However, this result can be spread. I indeed show that the Alan Kirman's models, typical of the analysis of networks, can be translated in the language of the complex analysis, including for the models the most close to the sociology. By applying the formalism of the complex analysis to the Harrison White's markets theory, I show finally that this particular shape of economic sociology could be perfectly integrated into the general frame of the analysis of the systems. The conclusion is that an important link exists now between economics and sociology. A link allowed by the theoretical nearness of the social networks analysis and the networks games theory. But this link is just a little part of a more important convergences which emerge within the frame of the complexity paradigm.
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Olivier Barbié. Convergences entre économie et sociologie autour du concept de réseau social. Histoire, Philosophie et Sociologie des sciences. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2010. Français. ⟨tel-00612275⟩

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