Department of Sociology
 Department of Sociology

Daniel Fridman


Ph.D., Columbia University

Assistant Professor
Daniel Fridman

Contact

Interests


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

Biography


Daniel Fridman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at UT-Austin. He received his PhD in Sociology from Columbia University, where he was a Mellon Fellow at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. Before joining UT-Austin in 2013, he taught at the University of Victoria, Canada and was a visiting researcher at the Centro de Estudios Sociales de la Economía, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina. He previously studied sociology at the University of Buenos Aires and worked for the National Statistics Institute in Argentina. Daniel is interested in the intersections of economy and culture, neoliberalism and financialization, economic policy in Latin America, consumer culture, and the construction of economic subjects.

Courses


SOC 321E • Economy, Culture, & Society

44600 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CLA 0.128

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 396P • Development Mkts & Soc Lat Am

44809 • Fall 2015
Meets TH 200pm-500pm CLA 0.124
(also listed as LAS 381)

This graduate seminar examines debates about development in Latin America from the 19th century to today. The course will cover successive development paradigms in the region, from export oriented, import substitution industrialization, neoliberalism, to postneoliberalism. We will pay special attention to theoretical debates and empirical research about the role of markets and economic expertise in Latin America’s development and in society more generally.

SOC 321C • Consumption In Latin Amer

44975 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm CLA 1.108
(also listed as LAS 325)

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 379M • Sociological Theory

45095 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm CLA 0.102

Description

The course introduces students to some of the main sociological theories and theorists since the late 19th century, including classic (Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber), mid-century (Alfred Schutz’s pehnomenology, Harold Garfinkel’s ethnomethodology, Erving Goffman, Western Marxism), and late twentieth century (Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour, Dorothy Smith). My goal is to introduce you to interesting and imaginative authors that took great pains to answer tough questions about society. Some readings will be more difficult than others, some will be more fun than others, and you will be more interested in some readings over others. But all of them will be worth your effort. However, not everything about theory is reading; a great deal of your work will be thinking “theoretically”. I think that theories are a bit like play dough. They have a defined shape, but they can also be stretched, reshaped, and combined with other pieces. The final shape will not always satisfy you, but you can always start over. So, our goal will be to understand the theories by “playing” with them and relating them to what we usually call the “real world” (although ‘one’s world’ is not the same as the ‘real world’). Eventually, I hope you will discover how powerful and useful sociological theories can be to help you answer some of the toughest questions about societies.

Readings

Most readings will be in a course packet, in addition to two or three books TBA.

Grading (tentative)

Exams (60%)

Paper (25%)

Class participation and forum posts (15%)

SOC 321E • Economy, Culture, & Society

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

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

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)

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

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%

Publications


Selected Publications

Fridman, Daniel (forthcoming). “Las contradicciones de la gubernamentalidad neoliberal: reforma financiera, nuevos sujetos económicos y crisis en la última dictadura argentina”. In Wilkis, Ariel & Alexandre Roig, El laberinto de las finanzas. Estudios Sociales de la Economía Contemporánea. Buenos Aires: Biblos.

Fridman, Daniel (2014). “Resisting the lure of the paycheck: Freedom and dependence in financial self-help”. Foucault Studies, No.18, pp. 90-112.

Daniel Fridman (2010). “From Rats to Riches: Game Playing and the Production of the Capitalist Self”, Qualitative Sociology, Volume 33, Issue 4.

Daniel Fridman (2010). “A New Mentality for a New Economy: Performing the Homo Economicus in Argentina (1976-1983),” Economy and Society, Volume 39, Issue 2.

Daniel Fridman (2008). “La creación de los consumidores en la última dictadura argentina,” Apuntes de Investigación, Nº14.

Daniel Fridman and David Sheinin (2007). “Wild Bulls, Discarded Foreigners, and Brash Champions: U.S. Empire and the Cultural Constructions of Argentine Boxers,” Left History, Vol. 12, Nº1, Spring/Summer.

David Sheinin and Daniel Fridman (2006). “The Last Champions: Boxing, Violence, and American Cultural Influences in 1970s Argentina,” Latin American Essays, XIX.


  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    CLA 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086
    512-232-6300