Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
sociology masthead
Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Daniel Fridman

Ph.D., Columbia University

Assistant Professor
Daniel Fridman

Contact

Interests

Economic Sociology; Ethnography; Sociology of Finance; Neoliberalism; Consumption; Latin America.

SOC 321E • Economy, Culture, & Society

46165 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CLA 1.106
show description

Description:

 

This class introduces students to the study of the intersections between economy and culture. ster.

Gift-giving seems to be at first sight a trivial topic for sociology. Like many other phenomena that happen in our everyday life, gifts appear to vanish into what Erving Goffman once called the ‘dust’ of social life. Yet, the gift is a true mystery that social scientists are still trying to uncover. Why and how do we give and receive gifts? Is a gift an act of pure generosity? Do you think of gifts received before giving one? The latter question brings up a set of more uncomfortable questions: Is a gift a simple act of exchange? What is the difference between a gift and a mercantile exchange? Our answers to the questions above will lead us to explore some of the core issues that sociology has dealt with: social organization and social structure, social norms, the relation between individual and society, the nature of economic and non-economic exchange, reciprocity, obligation, cultural meanings and power, among others. Our answers will have an impact on our ideas of who we are: Are we altruistic and generous? Are we selfish and self-interested? What are the conditions under which generosity and self-interest work or do not work? These questions have also timely political relevance. With the recent expansion of neoliberalism, market arrangements based on rational and self-interested individuals have been posed as an efficient and desirable form of organizing social life in various realms. An exploration of the nature of gift-giving and its workings in current contexts may help us evaluate those neoliberal claims and explore alternative arrangements.

The readings will take us from pre-modern to current societies; from the potlatch in Western Canada to understanding who pays for dinner or drinks; from the decoration of gifted money to charity and philanthropy; from economies of care to organ and blood donation; from garage sales to State Diaspora bonds; from expressing gratitude to tipping. I expect that, in our discussions, we will broaden even more the repertoire of social phenomena that involves some form of gift-giving.

Readings (tentative)

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W.W. Norton, 1990 [1923].
  • Jacques Godbout and Alain Caille, The World of The Gift, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.
  • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012.
  • Online readings.

Grading policy (tentative):

Exams: 60%

Short Paper: 25%

Participation/online responses: 15%

SOC 321K • Economy, Culture, And Society

46380 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm CLA 0.128
show description

Description:

 

This class introduces students to the study of the intersections between economy and culture. ster.

Gift-giving seems to be at first sight a trivial topic for sociology. Like many other phenomena that happen in our everyday life, gifts appear to vanish into what Erving Goffman once called the ‘dust’ of social life. Yet, the gift is a true mystery that social scientists are still trying to uncover. Why and how do we give and receive gifts? Is a gift an act of pure generosity? Do you think of gifts received before giving one? The latter question brings up a set of more uncomfortable questions: Is a gift a simple act of exchange? What is the difference between a gift and a mercantile exchange? Our answers to the questions above will lead us to explore some of the core issues that sociology has dealt with: social organization and social structure, social norms, the relation between individual and society, the nature of economic and non-economic exchange, reciprocity, obligation, cultural meanings and power, among others. Our answers will have an impact on our ideas of who we are: Are we altruistic and generous? Are we selfish and self-interested? What are the conditions under which generosity and self-interest work or do not work? These questions have also timely political relevance. With the recent expansion of neoliberalism, market arrangements based on rational and self-interested individuals have been posed as an efficient and desirable form of organizing social life in various realms. An exploration of the nature of gift-giving and its workings in current contexts may help us evaluate those neoliberal claims and explore alternative arrangements.

The readings will take us from pre-modern to current societies; from the potlatch in Western Canada to understanding who pays for dinner or drinks; from the decoration of gifted money to charity and philanthropy; from economies of care to organ and blood donation; from garage sales to State Diaspora bonds; from expressing gratitude to tipping. I expect that, in our discussions, we will broaden even more the repertoire of social phenomena that involves some form of gift-giving.

Readings (tentative)

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W.W. Norton, 1990 [1923].
  • Jacques Godbout and Alain Caille, The World of The Gift, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.
  • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012.
  • Online readings.

Grading policy (tentative):

Exams: 60%

Short Paper: 25%

Participation/online responses: 15%

SOC 321K • Consumption In Latin America

46152 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CLA 1.106
(also listed as LAS 325 )
show description

Consumption is at the same time an economic, political and cultural phenomenon. During the twentieth-century and the beginning of the twenty first, in many parts of the world the promise of extending mass-consumption became a central part of political discourses about the rights and benefits of citizens. In Latin America, the goal of achieving a vibrant internal consumer market was conflated by many with the idea of development, progress, and modernity. Conceptually, consumers have been seen alternatively as the sovereigns of markets, as victims of manipulation, or as a locus of resistance and expression. In this course, we will study the place of consumption in social, economic, and political relations in Latin America. We will read recent literature from various disciplines (sociology, history, anthropology, etc.) on consumer culture in the region, with a special focus on Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil. We will deal with a variety of topics and consumption goods, including consumer policies, popular consumption, advertising, neoliberal consumption, middle class consumer culture, home appliances, jeans and tupperware.

SOC 321K • Economy, Culture, And Society

46155 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm CLA 0.112
show description

Description:

This class introduces students to the study of the intersections between economy and culture. Specific Topics may vary by semester.

Gift-giving seems to be at first sight a trivial topic for sociology. Like many other phenomena that happen in our everyday life, gifts appear to vanish into what Erving Goffman once called the ‘dust’ of social life. Yet, the gift is a true mystery that social scientists are still trying to uncover. Why and how do we give and receive gifts? Is a gift an act of pure generosity? Do you think of gifts received before giving one? The latter question brings up a set of more uncomfortable questions: Is a gift a simple act of exchange? What is the difference between a gift and a mercantile exchange? Our answers to the questions above will lead us to explore some of the core issues that sociology has dealt with: social organization and social structure, social norms, the relation between individual and society, the nature of economic and non-economic exchange, reciprocity, obligation, cultural meanings and power, among others. Our answers will have an impact on our ideas of who we are: Are we altruistic and generous? Are we selfish and self-interested? What are the conditions under which generosity and self-interest work or do not work? These questions have also timely political relevance. With the recent expansion of neoliberalism, market arrangements based on rational and self-interested individuals have been posed as an efficient and desirable form of organizing social life in various realms. An exploration of the nature of gift-giving and its workings in current contexts may help us evaluate those neoliberal claims and explore alternative arrangements.

The readings will take us from pre-modern to current societies; from the potlatch in Western Canada to understanding who pays for dinner or drinks; from the decoration of gifted money to charity and philanthropy; from economies of care to organ and blood donation; from garage sales to State Diaspora bonds; from expressing gratitude to tipping. I expect that, in our discussions, we will broaden even more the repertoire of social phenomena that involves some form of gift-giving.

Readings (tentative)

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W.W. Norton, 1990 [1923].
  • Jacques Godbout and Alain Caille, The World of The Gift, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.
  • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Coursepack/online readings.

Grading policy (tentative):

Exams (in class/take home): 50%

Paper: 30%

Participation/responses: 20%

bottom border