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Karl Polanyi - the Limits of Market Society by Dr. Gareth Dale

Karl Polanyi - the Limits of Market Society

Part of the Key Contemporary Thinkers Series


Karl Polanyi - the Limits of Market Society by Dr. Gareth Dale

Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation is generally acclaimed as being among the most influential works of economic history in the twentieth century, and remains as vital in the current historical conjuncture as it was in his own. In its critique of nineteenth-century market fundamentalism it reads as a warning to our own neoliberal age, and is widely touted as a prophetic guidebook for those who aspire to understand the causes and dynamics of global economic turbulence at the end of the 2000s. Karl Polanyi: The Limits of the Market is the first comprehensive introduction to Polanyi's ideas and legacy. It assesses not only the texts for which he is famous prepared during his spells in American academia but also his journalistic articles written in his first exile in Vienna, and lectures and pamphlets from his second exile, in Britain. It provides a detailed critical analysis of The Great Transformation, but also surveys Polanyi s seminal writings in economic anthropology, the economic history of ancient and archaic societies, and political and economic theory. Its primary source base includes interviews with Polanyi's daughter, Kari Polanyi-Levitt, as well as the entire compass of his own published and unpublished writings in English and German. This engaging and accessible introduction to Polanyi's thinking will appeal to students and scholars across the social sciences, providing a refreshing perspective on the roots of our current economic crisis.


This is now the place to turn if one wishes to understand Polanyi's contribution, [which is] put forward with brilliance. John Hall, European Journal of Sociology

A long-overdue comprehensive analysis of the work of Karl Polanyi. Gareth Dale's book strikes a helpful balance between a broadly sympathetic admiration for the man and his writing and careful critical analysis. Times Higher Education

Dale has written a fine book in which his exposition and assessment of Polanyi's life's work is both highly illuminating and thoroughly convincing. It will long remain the standard authority. Marx & Philosophy

A timely, complex, and thought-provoking evaluation of Karl Polanyi's significance in contemporary thought. Sociological Review

This book is a complex and sophisticated analysis of a complex and sophisticated thinker. It is both a fair and detailed exposition of all of Polanyi's writings and a careful evaluation of the major criticisms of Polanyi. Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University

Gareth Dale's book is the most erudite and theoretically comprehensive account of Polanyi's ideas that I have come across. This is above all an exercise in intertextuality and is a remarkable example of intellectual dialogue. Keith Hart, Goldsmiths, University of London

This book will very likely become the definitive source on Polanyi's ideas and the ensuing debates. Gareth Dale combines a respectful and admiring attitude with unassailable theoretical erudition and clear-headed sobriety. Dale's extensive clarification on Polanyi also stands on its own as a serious contribution to current ideological debates and scholarly controversies regarding the prospects of post capitalist transitions. Georgi Derluguian, Northwestern University Karl Polanyi's work is attracting ever-increasing interest. Gareth Dale has produced an invaluable guide to his writings, ranging from Political Philosophy to Economic History and Anthropology. It is well-researched and organized with a systematic review and evaluation of critiques, revealing the underlying coherence of Polanyi's world of thought. Kari Polanyi Levitt, McGill University

About the Author

Gareth Dale is a Senior Lecturer at Brunel University

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Book Info

Publication date

7th May 2010


Dr. Gareth Dale

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Polity Press


224 pages


Economic theory & philosophy
Political economy



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