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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Sociology

Undergraduate Course: Economic Sociology: Theories and Enquiries (SCIL10077)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides an introduction to the field of Economic Sociology, which applies the theoretical and empirical tools of sociology to the economy. After providing an overview of the field¿s major theoretical perspectives the course applies them in a series of inquiries. These include case studies of events like financial crises and the close examination of a variety of markets, including those for labour, financial instruments and environmental goods.
Course description How rational are our economic lives? What does it mean to say that markets are embedded in society? What is neoliberalism? Did financial models cause the 2007-9 global financial crisis? These are just some of the questions that economic sociologists address when they apply the theoretical and empirical tools of sociology to study the economy.

The first half of the course introduces major theories of economic sociology and their relationship to mainstream economics. We begin with the field of behavioural economics and ask how far its theories take us towards a sociological perspective. This lays the groundwork for examining the idea of embeddedness, which has been economic sociology¿s main metaphor for socialising our view of markets since the 1980s. We then look at the alternative theoretical perspectives which have developed in the decades since, including the idea of ¿markets as politics¿ and the notions of ¿calculation¿ and ¿performativity¿.

The second half of the course focuses on the application of these concepts to case studies of neoliberalism, carbon markets, financial models, and regulation. For example, we ask if economic theory is not just modelling the economy but also playing a large role in shaping it ¿ and what this means for a society. We also look at the sociological mechanisms involved in the uptake of mathematical financial models and their possible role in economic crises. The aim of the second half of the course is to give students a taste of some of the most important work being undertaken by economic sociologists today. It also helps students to start thinking about how they might apply their sociological training to economic matters in their own research.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 2 social science courses (such as Sociology, Politics, Social Policy, Social Anthropology, etc) at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Short Essay (20%); Long Essay (70%) Tutorial Participation (10%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Appreciate the relationship between Economic Sociology, Economics and Political Economy. Understand the specific methodological contribution of Economic Sociology.
  2. Have a grounding in the broad Economic Sociology literature as well as the methodologies employed by economic sociologists to study economic phenomena
  3. Be acquainted with the ideas of major figures in the field including: Marx, Weber, Zelizer, Granovetter, Carruthers, Callon, and MacKenzie.
  4. Be familiar with and able to apply the concepts of embeddedness, culture, market devices and performativity to sociological economic analyses
  5. Understand major contemporary debates concerning the nature of money, financialization, the recent financial crisis, carbon markets and failures of regulation.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Nathan Coombs
Course secretaryMr Ewen Miller
Tel: (0131 6)50 3925
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