The Notion of Capitalism and the Reality of Contemporary Societies in the Fsu Countries.

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 30 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Dmitrii ZHIKHAREVICH, St. Petersburg State University, Russia
Anna KULESHOVA, The Monitoring of Public Opinion Journal, Moscow, Russia
This paper is an attempt to investigate the history and uses of the notion of capitalism viz. concurrent concepts of the economy and the market (market society). Drawing on the German tradition of the history of concepts (Begriffsgeschichte) developed by R. Koselleck and his co-authors, it proposes an argument that sociological concepts should be seen in context of the everyday languages of the time. This argument is illustrated by means of the two well-known cases from the conceptual history of the social sciences: Proudhon’s definition of communism and Weberian definition of the territorial nation-state. Both were based in the shared understanding of the respective phenomena prevalent in the time, but were later made more analytically sharp and integrated into the structure of respective social theories. Building on these two cases, the history of the notion of capitalism is traced from its origins in Thackeray The Newcomes published in 1855. In the second part of the paper different classical approaches and definitions of capitalism are compared and constructed: capitalism in its various forms (Weber, Schumpeter, Braudel, world-system analysis), bourgeois mode of production (Marx), market society (Polanyi, Hayek, Keynes, Hirschmann) etc., including the recent attempts to disaggregate “capitalism” into complementary institutions (Varieties of capitalism, new economic sociology) or infrastructures and processes of “economization”/”marketization”(sociology of finance). In conclusion the author makes an attempt at developing a synthetic historically grounded definition of capitalism.