How Credit Institutions Look at Society. Economics, Sociology and the Problem of Social Reflexivity Reconsidered
SOCIUS - Research Centre in Economic and Organizations Sociology ISEG - Technical University of Lisbon LISBON, PORTUGAL
Lopes, Daniel Seabra
SOCIUS - Researche Centre in Economic and Organizations Sociology ISEG - UTL LISBON, PORTUGAL
Almost twenty years ago, Anthony Giddens proclaimed that modernity was, in itself, deeply and intrinsically sociological, in the sense that sociological knowledge tended to be rapidly assimilated by individuals and institutions and therefore incorporated in subsequent processes of change. In a period where political action and social transformation seem to be highly restricted by economic imperatives, it may be interesting to interrogate how much sociology is being put to practice in economic institutions in general, and in credit institutions in particular. Drawing on fieldwork developed in marketing and risk analysis departments of two Portuguese retail banks, this communication will describe how these institutions use specific views of society which are predominantly statistic and mainly derived from economics, having little resemblance with sociological or anthropological models. Hence the need to reconsider the problem of social reflexivity and to ask if social sciences are still important in the framing of society or if they are condemned to be an appendix of economics.