Abstract: Gabriel Tarde's Network Theory of Firms and Markets: A Primer for Business Historians One Hundred Years Later

Bruno Latour


Exactly one hundred years ago, Gabriel Tarde died and his sociology of economics disappeared under the weight of the sociologists of the social. In his Psychology of Economics (1902), however, Tarde had developed the most up-to-date and radically new theory of firms, innovations, markets, quality, finance, taste, and consumption ever proposed in sociology and anthropology of economics. His argument is based on his radical theory of networks, of which actor-network theory is simply a derivation. The resurrection of this book seems a perfect topic for thiscConference, not only because it offers a look at an old theory but also because it brings to the fore a mystery of history: how could we have ignored intellectual resources that could have been so decisive in the rethinking of business history?