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current students > seminars > spring 2012 schedule > seminar: The Sociology of Economic Life


Honors Seminars Spring 2012

The Sociology of Economic Life

HON 295 Sec:001  
3 hours  
GER Cat:
Social Sciences  
16:30 - 17:45  
Winston 110  
Dr. Jeffrey C. Leiter

We often think about economic life as markets made up of buyers and sellers. Buying and selling are important, of course, but there's lots more to it. In this seminar, we'll use the overall idea of a "commodity chain" to give us a broader conception of economic life. The commodity chain idea, which we can apply to everything we produce and use, leads us to look at people and organizations all along the way from raw materials to consumption. This includes farming and mining, trade and transport, manufacturing, distribution, retail selling, consuming, and waste disposal and reuse. Everything from clothing to chocolate, from cars to computers goes through these stages. Along the chain, we will ask such questions as: why do some people and organizations have so much more power and make so much more money than others? How do the national and the global affect the regional and the local? How do personal ties and cultural norms shape economic relations? And, how do economic changes affect children and families, migration, and the environment? We will read about all the stages along the chain and about many different economic goods, while giving you the chance to investigate the people and organizations in a particular commodity chain that interests you.