Volume 10, 2018
Daniela Griselda López
The Social Meaning of Prices
Contributions of Phenomenological Sociology
There is no question that nowadays the phenomenon of prices is central to the media and political agenda and is the object of heated debates in the Argentine public arena. However, it is striking that these discussions forget to mention the social conditions in which market actors significantly set and shape prices. Debates focus on price increase and the spontaneous movements of the supply and demand curves supported by the neoclassical economic perspective, while the market agents that specifically cause such increase fade into the background and the subjective aspects of the phenomenon of price formation are underestimated as a mere manifestation of states of mind or individual preferences. This article argues that it is possible to criticize the neoclassical paradigm presuppositions based on the work of Alfred Schutz. His phenomenologically oriented sociology takes a critical stand facing the approaches that only consider the movements of the supply and demand curves in price formation, and that put aside the subjective values of the actors in the market. It is held that in line with the sociology of valuation, Schutz’s perspective resumes the inquiry around the intersubjective structures of meaning showing the importance of his thought to help us think about present-day problems.