Contemporary articles citing Smith C (1989) Auctions Social Cons

pricing, markets, price, status, economic, meanings, economics, according, point, market

Wherry, Frederick. 2008. "The Social Characterizations of Price: the Fool, the Faithful, the Frivolous, and the Frugal." Sociological Theory. 26:4 363-379.
This article extends both Viviana Zelizer's discussion of the social meaning of money and Charles Smith's proposal that pricing is a definitional practice to the under-theorized realm of the social meanings generated in the pricing system. Individuals are attributed with calculating or not calculating whether an object or service is ``worth'' its price, but these attributions differ according to the individual's social location as being near to or far from a societal reference point rather than by the inherent qualities of the object or service purchased. Prices offer seemingly objective (quantitative) proof of the individual's ``logic of appropriateness''-in other words, people like that pay prices such as those. This article sketches a preliminary but nonexhaustive typology of the social characterizations of individuals within the pricing system; these ideal types-the fool, the faithful, the frugal, and the frivolous-and their components offer a systematic approach to understanding prices as embedded in and constituents of social meaning systems.

Carruthers, BG & AL Stinchcombe. 1999. "The Social Structure of Liquidity: Flexibility, Markets, and States." Theory and Society. 28:3 353-382. Link

Velthuis, O. 2003. "Symbolic Meanings of Prices: Constructing the Value of Contemporary Art in Amsterdam and New York Galleries." Theory and Society. 32:2 181-215. Link
This article develops a sociological analysis of the price mechanism on the market for contemporary art. On the basis of in-depth interviews with art dealers in New York and Amsterdam, I address two pricing norms: one norm inhibits art dealers from decreasing prices; the other induces them to set prices according to size. To account for these pricing norms, I argue that price setting is not just an economic but also a signifying act: despite their impersonal, businesslike connotations, actors on markets manage to express a range of cognitive and cultural meanings through prices. Previously, meanings of prices have been recognized in signaling theories within economics. However, these meanings are restricted to profit opportunities. Within the humanities, by contrast, meanings of prices are restricted to contaminating or corrosive meanings. The sociological perspective I develop claims that prices, price differences, and price changes convey multiple meanings related to the reputation of artists, the social status of dealers, and the quality of the artworks that are traded.

Yakubovich, V, M Granovetter & P McGuire. 2005. "Electric Charges: the Social Construction of Rate Systems." Theory and Society. 34:5-6 579-612. Link
Price is a central analytic concept in both neoclassical and old institutional economics. Combining the social network perspective with old and new institutionalist approaches to price formation, this article examines technological, economic, institutional, and political factors that shaped the earliest pricing systems for electricity used in the United States, between 1882 and 1910. We show that certain characteristics of electricity supply led to ambiguities in how the product should be priced, which created a politics of pricing among electricity producers. In particular, we investigate why the ``Wright system,'' arguably inferior in productive efficiency to other alternatives, was widely adopted by 1900. We argue that this outcome resulted in part from the political and organizational clout of its supporters, as well as from their particular conceptions of the boundaries and future of the industry itself. The Wright system best suited the ``growth dynamic'' strategy promoted by the managers of large central stations in their fierce competition with smaller and more decentralized installations. Thus, even in this apparently highly technical and mainly economic issue of how to price the product, there was ample room for social construction and political manipulation. The outcome reached was by no means inevitable and had a highly significant impact on the shape of the American industrial infrastructure.

Aspers, Patrik. 2009. "Knowledge and Valuation in Markets." Theory and Society. 38:2 111-131. Link
The purpose of this theoretical article is to contribute to the analysis of knowledge and valuation in markets. In every market actors must know how to value its products. The analytical point of departure is the distinction between two ideal types of markets that are mutually exclusive, status and standard. In a status market, valuation is a function of the status rank orders or identities of the actors on both sides of the market, which is more entrenched than the value of what is traded in the market. In a market characterized by a standard, the situation is reversed; the scale of value is more entrenched than the rankings of actors in the market. In a status market actors need to know about the other actors involved as there is no scale of value for evaluating the items traded in the market independently of its buyers and sellers. In a standard market it is more important to know how to meet the standard in relation to which all items traded are valued. The article includes empirical examples and four testable hypotheses.