Accueil > Economic Sociology

DSOC 25A01 - Economic Sociology

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2019-2020

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

Economic sociology identifies puzzling economic phenomena and draws on a variety of intellectual traditions in order to explain them. These various traditions are united in one important aspect: economic sociology begins from the assumption that economic phenomena are embedded in a social context. This common starting point serves as a foundation from which economic sociology explains, criticizes, influences and predicts economic action. In the first part of this course, we establish three primary intellectual camps or “theories” of economic action: power, culture and rational action. We then build these foundations to understand important economic phenomena including the origins and nature of corporations, markets and institutions as well as arguments concerning the “varieties of capitalism”. In the last part of the class we will apply the abstract ideas of the first parts of the course in addressing a set of contemporary economic questions and concerns.


SAFFORD, Sean (Associate Professor, Sciences Po)

Pedagogical format

Each week until the mid-term, you will read selections from two or three articles or book chapters. In the first few weeks, many of these are selections are drawn from Frank Dobbin's overview of the field of economic sociology. For the more academic papers, your goal is to read for the main idea; we will spend time in each class discussing the papers. Pay attention to the pages listed in the syllabus. I have taken some time to select the parts of each paper on which you should concentrate. Come to class having read the parts of the papers assigned and it is a good idea to at least skim the rest. The lectures will highlight the most important material and are meant to be interactive discussions (progressively more so throughout the semester). Material from the text of the lecture as well as from the assigned readings from each week is fair game for the exam. There will not be questions on references in the lectures notes that are not required readings. For the second half of the course (weeks 8-12) there are three articles listed for each class. The class will be divided into three groups each of which will prepare one of the papers carefully to be presented to the rest. You should come to class having carefully read the paper you are assigned and having skimmed the other assigned papers.

Course validation

There will be a mid-term taken in class in week 7. It will cover all of the material in the “theoretical foundations” part of the course. The mid-term counts for 50% of your final grade. You will also write an 8-10 page paper based on one of the topics we discuss in weeks 8-12 (or you may choose to write on a topic of your own choosing with permission and in consultation with me). The paper counts for the other 50% of your grade.