Nina Bandelj, Constructing the Global Economy

Monday, November 10, 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Blumer Room - 402 Barrows Hall

Constructing the Global Economy

:How do we explain economic globalization? World systems and world society perspectives provide distinct interpretations, emphasizing uneven political economic exchange and cultural diffusion, respectively. I apply economic sociology to macro-processes and think of global economy as embedded simultaneously in cultural, political and structural processes. Using network analyses of the complete world-wide network of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) from its inception in 1959 to 2009, I investigate how the institutional infrastructure of the global economy has been constructed over time, and how the meaning of BITs has shifted from a political agreement intended to protect property rights of investor states to an instrument of globalization intended to create demand for foreign capital by developing countries. This process has been carried by transnational organizations but it has also been invigorated by specific regional developments, including the effort of postsocialist countries to create markets and integrate into a global economic network. I conclude that theorizing about global economy requires attention to the simultaneity of material, political and cultural forces and the interplay of transnational and local socio-historical developments.

Nina Bandelj is Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of Center for Organizational Research at the University of California, Irvine. Her research examines the social bases of economic phenomena, emotional embeddedness of economic action, determinants and consequences of globalization, and social change in postsocialist Europe. Her books include From Communists to Foreign Capitalists: The Social Foundations of Foreign Direct Investment in Postsocialist Europe, and Economy and State: A Sociological Perspective (with Elizabeth Sowers), along with several edited volumes. Bandelj currently serves as one of the editors of Socio-Economic Review, and on the Executive Council of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics. She is Past-Chair of the ASA’s Economic Sociology Section and Past Co-Chair of the ISA’s RC09 on Social Transformations and Sociology of Development.