Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
JS_RN09_RN20_RN21_10: Crossing Methodological Boundaries: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Economic Sociology
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Wolfgang Aschauer, University of Salzburg
Session Chair: Sebastian Koos, University of Konstanz
Location: GM.333
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Linking Theoretical Aims By Crossing Methodological Boundaries. On The Usefulness Of Various Data Types For Economic Sociology

Nina Baur, Linda Hering

Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

Within economic sociology, numerous theoretical approaches exist. These approaches influence how research questions e.g. on market exchange, consumption, production and work are specified in social research e.g.: Are researchers interested in interactions, social meaning or structure? Are they interested in micro-, meso-, macro-sociological phenomena? How do they handle spatiality (e.g. do researchers want to analyse local or national economies or global value chains?) and temporality (e.g. everyday market interactions, long-term economic transformations)? How these questions are answered influences the overall research design as well as choice of data and methods. Using examples from their own research, the authors discuss the usefulness of various qualitative and quantitative data types – such as ethnographies, visual data (e.g. photography, videos), qualitative interviews, surveys, process-generated data (e.g. aggregated statistical data, business directories, newspaper articles, engineering literature) and cartographic data – for addressing different types of theoretical aims within economic sociology. The paper argues that (1) for economic sociology, the differentiation between qualitative and quantitative methods is less useful than that between different data types. (2) No single data type can assess all theoretical aims within economic sociology. (3) Therefore, methodological boundaries have to be crossed and methods linked, integrated and mixed in order to be able to study economic interactions.

Structures And Mechanisms - Methodological Problems Of Explanation In Economic Sociology

Gerhard Fuchs

Universität Stuttgart, Germany

Economic sociology like sociology in general is interested in detecting and analyzing structures, regularities in action. As Martin (2012) has noted this search, however, has been derailed by the fantastic belief that social structure is something that causes regularities in action, when social structure is simply what we call regularities in action. In many parts of the social sciences therefore an interest in the genesis of structures and processual problems has developed (e.g. Abbott 2016; Langley/Tsoukas 2016). This comes along with some interesting methodological challenges. How can we answer the question of how something came into existence without answering this question in a more or less historical manner, which rightly stresses the qualitative elements of processes, but is short on generic explanations? One way that has been repeatedly proposed to avoid this dilemma has been a concentration on mechanisms. Powell/Padgett in their 2012 volume on the emergence of markets and organizations for example propose a list of mechanisms responsible for the development of novelty and another one for the stabilization of novelty. Mechanisms as such, nevertheless, are no explanations, they need to be connected to stories about what is going on. This, however, should not exclude quantitative approaches. The proposed paper discusses the potential mix of quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches for the study of economic problems, given the example of the genesis and development of electricity markets in Germany.

Let’s Talk About Needs: A Laboratory Experiment On The Influence Of Social Distance On Distributive Justice

Sabine Neuhofer

University of Vienna, Austria

We are confronted with the matter of distributive justice on a daily basis – be it in the household context about the just distribution of chores or cake, or in political discussions on pensions or unemployment. Pluralist theories of justice and empirical justice research suggest that the type of social relation that exists between people influences the distributive justice principle they choose, according to which goods should be allocated. Among the main justice principles of equity, equality and need, the latter has so far received least attention in terms of behavioral measures. Justice theory postulates that principle of need is related to close social relationships, which can be distinguished from formal relationships by their degree of social distance. Social distance can be split into the dimensions of time and communication. In a laboratory experiment I find that these dimensions not only matter for themselves, but also interact with each other. A content analysis of the communication protocol of the experiment further shows that the actual content of the communicative act indicates in which frame of action is activated, which in turn influences the choice of distributive justice principle. This combination of methods shows that people try to find or justify different strategies within the controlled action space of the laboratory experiment, which would otherwise remain unnoticed.

Factors that Influence Music Artists Success: Analysis of Russian Music Scene

Lada Litvinova

HSE University, Russian Federation

Presented paper is aimed to factors influencing music artists success. Technologies have altered the way music is produced, promoted, distributed and consumed. Music availability is increasing, new forms of communication with the audience are emerging, musicians face with the problem that being good is not enough to be successful. Musicians need to survive in a competitive market and need to know what factor inflate their commercial success.

Leaving artistic recognition out of the spotlight, we focus on commercial success, defined as attainment of legitimacy and measured, accordingly, by multiple indicators of acceptance by an audience (number of views, number and downloads, position in charts and sales). The main specificity of presented work is integration of different aspects of the musical product, such as technical audio characteristics (loudness, sequential complexity), vocabulary statistics (semantic and linguistic), performance characteristic (singles, albums, video and concerts ratio, instruments, communication with audience). All data will be collected from open sources.

The results we expect will reflect relationship between different factors of music production and performance and musical artists success. The paper will add an interesting and important contribution to the existing literature on music scenes and also suggest a complex way for advancing research on musical artists success. Finally, it will make an important empirical contribution to musicology area. Whereas music is not pure creativity, but like any art an industry, the results of current study will raise interest not only among academics, but also among music industry decision-makers such as managers, labels and producers.