Department of Sociology

Jacinto Cuvi Escobar


Inequality, Development, Urban Sociology, Latin America


My research explores the street vending economy of the largest city in the southern hemisphere, São Paulo. I examine the sociocpolitical dynamics that govern the allocation of space and opportunities among street vendors as well as the various mechanisms of informal stratification at work in the field. Moreover, I analyze the effects that such mechanisms have on the outcomes of eviction policies and on the distribution of costs and benefits during sports mega-events (i.e., the World Cup). A better understanding of informal markets enriches current trends in economic sociology which have redefined the concept of market and its embeddedness in social relations. Street vending is also a major source of income for the urban poor across the world. My research has been funded by the Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies and the National Science Foundation. 



SOC 307N • Intro To Soc Of Development

44890 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 900am-1000am CLA 0.102

Course Description:

In 2013 the average GDP per capita of the twenty wealthiest countries in the world was just over $50,000, while that of the poorest twenty countries was only $1,000. In low-income countries, literacy rates remain between 25% and 50% and 1 in 10 newborn children is expected to die before the age of 5. What accounts for the persisting gap between rich and poor countries? How does globalization affect the development strategies of places like Haiti or Vietnam? And what roles do social actors like drug cartels, the World Bank, or McDonald’s play with regard to labor markets and social well-being in the developing world?

This course is designed to introduce students to major concepts and theories in the study of development and globalization with a focus on problems of inequality in wealth and well-being. The first part of the course will present the major concepts and tools used in the field. In the second part, we will discuss theories of economic development, exploring the causes and consequences of inequalities among countries. The third and last section will take a closer look at the social actors and forces that shape social and economic change on the ground, with a special focus on Latin America. Students with an interest in the global economic system and global inequalities as well as students seeking to add an international perspective to questions about growth, wealth, and inequality in their home country will benefit from this class.  

Optional texts:

McMichael, Philip. 2012. Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective. London: Sage. 5th ed. 

Other required readings will be posted on Canvas.


2 In Class Exams

1 Short Paper


Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages

  • Department of Sociology

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