LAS 381 • ECONOMIC SOCIOLOGY
1:00 PM-4:00 PM
This seminar focuses on sociological perspectives on economic activity. We begin by considering the main conceptual approaches that differentiate sociological perspectives from those of Economics. These concern the role of social and political structures in influencing economic activity, the importance of individual and collective rationalities, and the economic significance of the quality of interpersonal relationships. We will consider a set of economic issues from these perspectives: markets, firms, poverty, and community, regional, national and global development. The course will look at these issues in developing, transitional, and developed countries. In terms of developing countries, the focus will be Latin America, but students are encouraged to specialize in other regions if they so wish.
Students will be expected to read the assigned readings each week before class and prepared short reports on these to be posted to Blackboard, meet personally or electronically in small groups to discuss these readings, and delegate, by rotation, one member of the group to write up the discussion for posting to Blackboard and oral presentation in class. Two of these will be readings specified for the week, and the other will be one chosen by the student on a topic of that is relevant to topics of the seminar. The article reviews contribute to the student's final grade. The main assessment will be based on a research proposal (8-10,000 words) on a research topic of the student's choice, which is within the field of economic sociology. The last three seminars of the course will be devoted to individual presentations of the research proposals. The proposals will be due on the last day of class (May 2nd ) The proposal should contain a well-developed research problem, including a theoretical statement and hypotheses, a review of the literature, and a methodological section. Readings: There is one essential background text: Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg(eds.), The Handbook of Economic Sociology, 2nd Edition. The articles contain comprehensive bibliographies on the various sub-themes of Economic Sociology. In addition, other relevant books will be put on reserve in the Perry Castaneda Library and a collection of relevant articles will be placed electronically on the Documents section of Blackboard for the course and on electronic reserves.