Journal Article

Building community, legitimating consumption: creating the U.S. bicycle market, 1876–1884

Thomas Burr

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 4, issue 3, pages 417-446
Published in print September 2006 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online March 2006 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwl015
Building community, legitimating consumption: creating the U.S. bicycle market, 1876–1884

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Economic and organizational sociologists tend to define markets as sets of producers, and research mostly supply-side issues. They generally ignore the role of consumers and their use of products, the source of profit for producers, a neglect especially problematical with regard to understanding market creation. A definition of markets as ‘producers and consumers of a product’ highlights the efforts to organize and legitimate product use that consumers, as well as producers, must undertake to help create markets. Much of this organization and legitimation involves setting up networked communities of producer and consumer organizations, which are also devoted to practical support of product use. In this article I trace the history of the early U.S. bicycle market to show how producers and consumers worked with each other and separately to organize and to confer legitimacy on product use, which supported the market.

Keywords: markets; consumers; bicycles; retailers; clubs; JEL classification: N81, D71, P42

Journal Article.  13147 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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