Chapter

Markets, supermarkets and the macro-social shaping of demand: an instituted economic process approach

Mark Harvey

in Innovation By Demand

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780719062674
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700273 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719062674.003.0012
Markets, supermarkets and the macro-social shaping of demand: an instituted economic process approach

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This chapter argues for the need to build an economic sociology/political economy of demand that goes from micro-individual through to macro-structural features. It develops an ‘instituted economic process’ approach to the study of demand and innovation to account for processes of institutionalisation and deinstitutionalisation. Within this framework, the concept of a ‘production—distribution—retail—consumption’ configuration is seen as shaping innovation. The empirical investigations of this chapter involve analysis of how retail markets link demand with supply, and how that link is a structured one: the interface facing both ways. The chapter explores three empirical cases. The first involves the near disappearance of wholesale markets for fresh fruit and vegetables to retail markets, and the particular questions raised in terms of range and quality of products that flow through them. The second deals with an equally significant reconfiguration of the retail—distribution—production configuration reflected in the emergence of supermarket own-label products. The third raises the question of how the organisation of retail markets, and their transformation, alters the way demand is instituted between end consumers and retailers.

Keywords: supply; demand; instituted economic process; innovation; consumption; institutionalisation; deinstitutionalisation; retail markets; wholesale markets; consumers

Chapter.  9595 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Economy

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