Why should Karl Polanyi, an economic historian (who majored in law),1 be read by legal scholars, as well as by other social scientists, today? What contribution shall his works offer to contemporary theories (and practices) on law as a system of social governance? Shall Polanyi’s thought be regarded as a powerful counter-model to mainstream law & economics? In this paper, I will try to answer these questions, arguing that Polanyi’s criticism of ‘economistic’ intellectual frameworks has lost none of its relevance even under today’s deeply changed social and economic conditions. Paradoxically, the growing influence of neo-institutionalist paradigms in economics, while it apparently undermines the more abstract and formalist approaches to human behaviour and makes economic reasoning more easily accessible to other social sciences, has not made Polanyi’s criticism superfluous or outdated (Cangiani 2002: 751; Caillé – Laville 2008: 565). On the contrary, it is exactly this disciplinary convergence that makes a return to Polanyi, and namely to his peculiar institutionalist perspective, even more urgent and necessary

Resta, G. (2024). Karl Polanyi’s institutionalist approach and its contemporary value for the social sciences. In Michele Cangiani - Claus Thomasberger (a cura di), THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK ON KARL POLANYI (pp. 278-289) [10.4324/9781003336747].

Karl Polanyi’s institutionalist approach and its contemporary value for the social sciences

Giorgio Resta
2024-01-01

Abstract

Why should Karl Polanyi, an economic historian (who majored in law),1 be read by legal scholars, as well as by other social scientists, today? What contribution shall his works offer to contemporary theories (and practices) on law as a system of social governance? Shall Polanyi’s thought be regarded as a powerful counter-model to mainstream law & economics? In this paper, I will try to answer these questions, arguing that Polanyi’s criticism of ‘economistic’ intellectual frameworks has lost none of its relevance even under today’s deeply changed social and economic conditions. Paradoxically, the growing influence of neo-institutionalist paradigms in economics, while it apparently undermines the more abstract and formalist approaches to human behaviour and makes economic reasoning more easily accessible to other social sciences, has not made Polanyi’s criticism superfluous or outdated (Cangiani 2002: 751; Caillé – Laville 2008: 565). On the contrary, it is exactly this disciplinary convergence that makes a return to Polanyi, and namely to his peculiar institutionalist perspective, even more urgent and necessary
2024
Resta, G. (2024). Karl Polanyi’s institutionalist approach and its contemporary value for the social sciences. In Michele Cangiani - Claus Thomasberger (a cura di), THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK ON KARL POLANYI (pp. 278-289) [10.4324/9781003336747].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/460408
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