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Constructing Quality – The Classification of Goods in Markets - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Constructing Quality: The Classification of Goods in Markets

Jens Beckert and Christine Musselin


How can we engage in a market relationship when the quality of the goods we want to acquire is unknown, invisible, or uncertain? For market exchange to be possible, purchasers and suppliers of goods must be able to assess the quality of a product in relation to other products. Only by recognizing qualities and perceiving quality differences can purchasers make nonrandom choices, and price differences between goods be justified. Not a natural given, “quality” is the outcome of a social process in which products come to be seen as possessing certain traits and occupying a specific position in re ... More

Keywords: economic sociology, sociology of finance, financial market, labor market, moral values, risks and uncertainties, classification, poetry, quality, valuation, timber market, educational values, equal opportunity, antiques market, halal, food market, funeral market, mass consumption markets, demand shaping, counterfeiting, consumption, wine market

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199677573
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677573.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jens Beckert, editor
Director, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

Christine Musselin, editor
Director, Centre de Sociologie des Organisations (Sciences Po and CNRS)

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1 Introduction

Jens Beckert and Christine Musselin1

Part I Investing in Quality

Part II The Quality of Labor

Part III The Quality of Aesthetic Goods

Part IV The Morality of Quality

Part V Consuming Quality