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As institutions and governance structures develop in modern markets, they tend to "feed back" onto economic activity. Through such feedback loops, market and political arenas can develop symbiotically into relatively coherent "fields" that gradually embed actors' orientations and activities. Using these insights, this article develops and tests a theory of European integration focusing on the case of the European Community, the first pillar of the European Union. Traders, organized interests, courts, and the EC's policy-making organs, over time, have produced a self-sustaining causal system that has driven the construction of the European market and polity. The generality of this explanation to a sociology of markets and polity-building projects is discussed in the conclusion.

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