The Max Planck Partner Group for the Sociology of Economic Life

The Max Planck Partner Group for the Sociology of Economic Life is a joint project of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFiS PAN) in Warsaw and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) in Cologne. The project started in April 2017. Led by Marcin Serafin, the Partner Group explores the cultural, social and political dimensions of contemporary economies. It has two main research areas: (I) Digital Economy and Contemporary Capitalism and (II) Contested Futures and Moral Economies.

The first area of research looks at the impact of digital platforms on contemporary capitalism. Marcin Serafin studies how digital platforms such as Uber, Airbnb, Booking.com are reorganizing contemporary economic and social life. His research investigates how such platforms are more than just matching devices, which are increasing economic efficiency, but are social institutions that have cultural and political consequences as well. Together Marcin Serafin and Matias Dewey from MPIfG are studying the impact of Uber on taxi markets in different countries.

The second area of research deals with the impact of expectations on different domains of social life, focusing in particular on their moral dimension. Mateusz Halawa is researching the culturally inflected and politically contested aspirations to the good life among the Polish middle classes, as mediated by the rise and proliferation of multi-decade mortgage instruments. Marta Olcoń-Kubicka is researching household monetary practices, looking at different models of financial arrangements. In her research Marta Olcoń-Kubicka focuses on processes of valuation within households and the moral frames that guide transfers of money. Krzysztof Niedziałkowski explores the role of expectations in environmental conflicts focusing on conflicts over protected areas and wildlife. In his research Krzysztof Niedziałkowski investigates how institutional dynamics of environmental conflicts in Poland are influenced by different visions of possible and desirable future, which are shared by coalitions of actors.

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