The audience of (economic) sociologist beyond the sociologist - Economic sociologists are usually far less influential on policy-makers, international organizations, public opinion, than mainstream economists. This article discusses the possible factors of this lower external influence, arguing that the main reason is to be found in the very structure of sociological accounts of the economy, that makes them ill-suited to orient action. Any accounts based on the embeddedness of economic action in social networks, or on the features of the institutional context that shapes actors’ behaviour, make it impossible to draw simple prescriptions from them. To overcome this handicap, economic sociologists should try to focus on a few analytical instruments typical of their tool kit, that, under current conditions, may prove more valuable than those used by economists. Four such instruments are discussed: use of typologies vs. convergence theories; emphasis on trade-offs between costs and benefits of the different solutions vs. pursuit of the "one best way"; search for functional equivalents vs. sheer imitation of best practices; finally, design of alternative scenarios vs. straight forecasts.
Key words: paradigms, social impact, typologies, trade-offs, functional equivalents, alternative scenarios