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Economic sociology





1st semester

Lecture venue
Lecture time
Offer semester
  • Welcome to the class! In this course, we will explore the fields of economic sociology and economic anthropology together. These two fields are closely related and focus on the social and cultural aspects of economic life. We will examine how social and cultural factors, such as institutions, social networks, power, and history, shape and are shaped by economic behavior. Through a combination of theoretical and empirical studies, you will develop an understanding of the complex relationships between society and the economy from sociological and anthropological perspectives. You will also learn how these perspectives can be put in conversations with approaches in economic and business disciplines.

    The course will be run as a mix of lectures and classroom discussions. Students are expected to participate actively in class by raising questions, contributing ideas, engaging in small group discussions and debates, etc.

    1. Understand sociological and anthropological approaches to economic activities and the connections with and differences from the approaches in economic and business disciplines.

    2. Engage in the debates over the relations between economic activities and social factors, such as culture, history, and the state.

    3. Conduct literature-based and empirical research to make arguments about some of the relations mentioned in the CLO2.

  • Tasks


    Classroom participation


    Tutorial participation


    Book review and peer feedback


    Mid-term quiz


    Group project presentation


  • Barkan, Joshua. 2013. Corporate Sovereignty : Law and Government under Capitalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Selections.

    Callon, Michel. 1998. The Laws of the Markets. Oxford: Blackwell. Selections.

    Chan, Cheris Shun-ching. 2012. Marketing Death: Culture and the Making of a Life Insurance Market in China. New York: Oxford University Press. Selections.

    Ilana Gershon. 2017. Down and Out in the New Economy: How People Find (or Don’t Find) Work Today. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Selections.

    Ferguson, James. 1994. The Anti-Politics Machine: Development, Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Selections.

    Graeber, David. 2011. Debt: The First 5000 Years. Brooklyn: Melville House. Selections.

    Granovetter, Mark. 1974. Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Selections.

    Granovetter, Mark, and Richard Swedberg. 2001. The Sociology of Economic Life. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Selections.

    Ho, Karen. 2009. Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Selections.

    Mauss, Marcel. 2016. The Gift. Translated by Jane I. Guyer. Chicago: Hau Books.

    Mintz, Sidney. 1986. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Penguin. Selections.

    Siu, Helen F. 1989. “Socialist Peddlers and Princes in a Chinese Market Town.” American Ethnologist 16 (2): 195-212.

    Smelser, Neil, and Richard Swedberg, eds. 2005. The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Selections.

    Veblen, Thorstein. 1996. The Theory of the Leisure Class. NY: A Mentor Book, New American Library. Selections.

    Verdery, Katherine. 1996. What Was Socialism, and What Comes Next? Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Weber, Isabella M. 2021. How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate. New York: Routledge. Selections.

    Weber, Max. 2005. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. London and New York: Routledge. Selections.

    Yan, Yunxiang. 1996. The Flow of Gifts: Reciprocity and Social Networks in a Chinese Village. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Selections.

    Zelizer, Viviana. 1997. The Social Meaning of Money. NJ: Princeton University Press. Selections.

  • Braverman, Harry. 1998. Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century. New York: Monthly Review Press.

    Ferguson, James. 2015. Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    Kassem, Sarrah. 2023. Work and Alienation in the Platform Economy: Amazon and the Power of Organization. Bristol: Bristol University Press.

    Kusimba, Sibel. 2021. Reimagining Money: Kenya in the Digital Finance Revolution. Stanford University Press.

    MacKenzie, Donald. 2008. An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Marx, Karl. 1976. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume 1. Translated by Ben Fowkes. New York: Penguin Books.

    Pardo-Guerra, Juan Pablo. 2019. Automating Finance: Infrastructure, Engineers, and the Making of Electronic Markets. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Polanyi, Karl. 2001. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Boston: Beacon Press.

    Yang, Mayfair Mei-hui. 1994. Gifts, Favors, and Banquets: The Art of Social Relationships in China. Cornell University Press.

    Zaloom, Caitlin. 2006. Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Course co-ordinator and teachers
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