From ideal to material: a socio-behavioral anatomy of a Dutch auction in Portugal

Uma anatomia socio-comportamental de um leilão holandês em Portugal

  • Júlio Lobão Universidade do Porto - Faculdade de Economia do Porto
Keywords: economic sociology, Dutch auction, sociology of materiality, substantial economy vs. formal economy


In this paper we carry out an ethnographic study at a fish auction that takes place in Matosinhos (Portugal). The in-situ observation of the functioning of the market suggests the existence of a cohesive community of participants, marked by informality and by the tacit acceptance of the constitutive rules of the auction. The material conditions of market creation (organization of the space, screens, remote control to transmit market orders) are central to the strengthening and weakening of the dynamics of mutual observation and competition among market participants. Taken together, the contributions of this paper highlight the importance of considering the substantive conditions of market creation, as opposed to a purely formal methodological approach.