Body, virus, morals, and scandals

Body, virus, morals, and scandals

Current Issue | Vol 21, No 3 | July 2020 | Download (PDF)
Akos Rona-Tas
This issue centers on the encounter between the economy and the human body. Economics, like other social sciences, treats people mostly as disembodied actors who never catch viruses or suffer from back pain or creeping dementia. These abstract actors are all too often assumed also to be immortal, rarely acting with an acute consciousness of a finite life. These issues become visible in our academic looking glass only when they emerge as social problems, not as the normal experience of everyday existence.
Alya Guseva
Surrogacy – contracted gestation and birthing of babies for other people – is a multibillion–dollar global industry. Because it commodifies a practice that belongs to an intimate, “sacred” sphere of the family, and mixes babies and money, it offers a natural window into a theoretical problem of great interest to economic sociologists: the role of morality and moral framings in shaping and sustaining economic exchange.
Etienne Nouguez
The stakes around the global and national medicines markets have been rising steadily for the last twenty years. From the controversies over patents surrounding HIV treatments and the right of developing countries to infringe these patents and develop generic copies in the late 1990s (’t Hoen 2002; Coriat 2008), to the current debates over the exorbitant prices of certain medicines and the sustainability of the expenditure they generate for national health insurance (Vogler et al. 2016), or, in the current context of the Covid-19 pandemic, over supply disruptions and struggles between countries to access treatments, tests, and protective masks – medicines and health products raise a series of fundamental questions.
Roi Livne
Open nearly every book about the US healthcare system and the problem of excess would echo throughout. Healthcare accounts for some 18 percent of US gross domestic product, and the figure continues to rise. Pharmaceutical companies, medical device producers, insurers, hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and physician groups make up a profitable industry that develops, sells, and utilizes ever-more-advanced and expensive methods to diagnose and treat disease. Procedures that only two decades ago were deemed “extraordinary” are now being used as ordinary treatments, which physicians offer and insurers cover even when their benefit is minimal (Kaufman 2015). It is mind-boggling, indeed, that in a country where so many lack even the most basic access to medical services, many others face a persistent problem of too much.
Speeches by Jeanne Lazarus and Viviana Zelizer
During a ceremony on November 13, 2019, Sciences Po in Paris awarded the sociologist Viviana Zelizer and the economist Joseph Stiglitz the titles of Doctor Honoris Causa. This distinction was given to Professor Zelizer for her work as the founder of a new school of economic sociology, and to Professor Stiglitz as the leading figure of the new Keynesian economy.

Branko Milanovic · 2019
Capitalism, alone. The future of the system that rules the world
Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
Gertraude Mikl-Horke

Jon Shefner and Cory Blad · 2020
Why austerity persists
Cambridge, UK: Polity Press
Clara Mattei

Ève Chiapello and Patrick Gilbert · 2019
Management tools. A social science perspective
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
Alina Marktanner

Daniel Beunza · 2019
Taking the floor. Models, morals, and management in a Wall Street trading room
Princeton: Princeton University Press
Sarah Lenz

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