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Sociology of the Invisible Hand

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Edited By Adriana Mica, Katarzyna M. Wyrzykowska, Rafał Wiśniewski and Iwona Zielińska

This book illustrates the applicability of the seminal and controversial metaphor of the «invisible hand» in modern sociological theory. It shows that sociologists have long been part of a field mainly associated with economists and political philosophers. Though unlike the framing that builds directly on Adam Smith, sociological theory focuses on undesirable and perverse outcomes. Furthermore, the sociological angle favors the explanation of invisible hand-like mechanisms as contingent upon social structures and broader processes. Thus, it goes beyond its classical formulation in terms of interdependence, interaction and aggregation of individual actions.

This book gathers contributions of remarkable authors who are linked directly either with the invisible hand metaphor, with the spontaneous order phenomenon or with the unintended consequences issue and aims to describe the traditional and contemporary applicability of the sociological framing of the invisible hand for social sciences.

Adriana Mica is Assistant Professor at the University of Warsaw. Her interests concern unintended consequences of social action, failure, diffusion of innovations and ignorance.

Katarzyna M. Wyrzykowska is a researcher at the Polish Academy of Sciences and Secretary of the Sociology of Arts Section of the Polish Sociological Association. Her research focuses on the sociology of music, music market research, and the methodology of qualitative research.

Rafał Wiśniewski is Associate Professor at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. He specializes in sociology of culture, intercultural communication and environmental sociology. He is the director of the National Centre for Culture in Poland.

Iwona Zielińska is Assistant Professor at Maria Grzegorzewska University. She is interested in science controversies and the public engagement with science and technology.