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The Emergence of Organizations and Markets$
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John F. Padgett and Walter W. Powell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148670

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148670.001.0001

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Transposition and Refunctionality

Transposition and Refunctionality

The Birth of Partnership Systems in Renaissance Florence

(p.168) 6 Transposition and Refunctionality
The Emergence of Organizations and Markets

John F. Padgett

Princeton University Press

This chapter asserts that the organizational genesis mechanism behind the emergence of the Renaissance Florentine partnership systems was “transposition and refunctionality.” Transposition in this case means that master-apprentice relational protocols from the world of guilds were imported into the previously patrilineage world of Florentine international finance. Here, partnership systems, which were an important innovation in the history of commercial capitalism, became one constitutive network in a new multi-network republican-cum-merchant open elite. The Florentine partnership system was a legally decentralized “network star” organizational form for doing diversified business in international trade and finance and in domestic textile manufacturing. The dominant relational language within this new Renaissance elite, in politics, in marriage, in business, and in art, was patronage.

Keywords:   Florence, Renaissance, transposition, refunctionality, Florentine partnership systems, Florentine international finance, commercial capitalism, patronage

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