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Political Devices behind the formation of the market.: The case of the funeral market in France

Abstract : How does a market form for the supply of services initially provided by social and extra-economic institutions? Using the case of the history of the funeral market in France, this paper draws upon pragmatic approaches to analyse how the market formed in the course of the 19th century. It examines the interaction between market and non-market stakeholders - Church, State and entrepreneurs (the first private funeral businesses) - in shaping the basic "socio-technical arrangements" (Callon 2007) at the root of the development of the funeral business. In the context of this non-legitimate market, the analysis will show how market devices incorporate "calculation formulae" which convey a substantial political dimension. I suggest that this form of political calculation, as an institutional compromise slotted into a price-setting mechanism, was decisive for the emerging colonisation of private business into the public management of death. Beyond this, understanding the formation of the market requires to take into account the continual reinvention of this "set of framing" through the course of the economic and political interaction. I suggest that this movement spread out at two levels: on the one hand, the entrepreneur's skill in making most of the profit from the calculation formulae ; on the other hand, the peripheral actors' attempt, as they were excluded from this primary hybrid form of funeral organization (public-private), to intrude into the organization to develop competition at the margins.
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Contributor : Pascale Trompette <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 3:22:47 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 20, 2020 - 11:16:08 AM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-00580870, version 1




Pascale Trompette. Political Devices behind the formation of the market.: The case of the funeral market in France. 1st Interdisciplinary Market Studies Workshop, Jun 2010, Stockolm, France. sans pagination. ⟨halshs-00580870⟩



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