Professor László Pólos, Durham Business School, Durham University
Abstract: This paper explores some of the social mechanisms that lead to the emergence of classification schemata, i.e. social codes that put producers or products into different categories. The theoretical challenge is to tell apart cases where a producer does not belong to a category, and cases where it does belong but violates some of the codes that define the category. A satisfactory response to this challenge has to account for the fuzziness of classification schemata: some products may belong to a category in some degree. Bringing fuzzy set theory into the models allows us to develop concepts such as contrast of a cluster, which turns out to be a sensible predictor of the emergence of classification schemata.