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Relational Work as a Market Device: An Analysis of the Contested “Voluntary” Carbon Offset Market

The Contested Moralities of Markets

ISBN: 978-1-78769-120-9, eISBN: 978-1-78769-119-3

Publication date: 2 September 2019


The chapter studies the functioning of the so-called “voluntary” carbon offset market, a market in which moral controversies take place. The analysis dwells on the theoretical framework that enables us to study the functioning of a contested market through particular devices. The chapter seeks to contribute to the literature on moral struggles within markets by focusing the attention on one specific device: relational work, including several dimensions like meeting between seller and buyer, establishing contracts and maintaining the relationship with clients in the long run. By studying relational work, the authors highlight how this basic market activity is a crucial device that makes it possible for a contested market to continue to exist.




I warmly thank the editors and the reviewers for their detailed and constructive suggestions on previous drafts. I also would like to thank Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier who supervised my Ph.D. and contributed to inspire my interest for the relational work on markets and helped me develop my analysis of the commercial work on the “voluntary” carbon markets, Simon Bittmann with whom I discussed the construction of this chapter and who encouraged me to study the contract and last Olivier Van den Bossche for improving my English.


Valiergue, A. (2019), "Relational Work as a Market Device: An Analysis of the Contested “Voluntary” Carbon Offset Market", Schiller-Merkens, S. and Balsiger, P. (Ed.) The Contested Moralities of Markets (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 63), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 49-66.



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