Economic Sociology (920:571)

Wed 4:10- 6:50 pm, Lucy Stone Hall A 256

Department of Sociology, Rutgers University, Spring 1998

Current version posted on January 14, 1998

Professor: József Böröcz

office hours: Wed 2-3pm at LSH B207 or by appt.

phone: 445-2435 or 932-1367

email: jborocz@rci.rutgers.edu


This is a graduate reading seminar in economic sociology. It is designed to build the foundations of conceptual and analytical competence in this exciting field by (i) sampling some of the classical work that is most relevant to our contemporary concerns in the area, (ii) focussing on the much-debated problem of economic institutions, and (iii) examining a selection of other topics of importance in economic sociological research (modernization, [under]development, informality, etc.). It involves brief weekly presentations designed to initiate debate, discussions of the readings,(1) and József's occasional summaries of contextual and background info. Class discussion--a scholarly-intellectual give-and-take--is the most important component of this course. You are required to come completely prepared, including a thorough, "quality-time" reading of the texts and a mature, constructive, active and intellectually exciting agenda.

You are responsible for preparing a one-page, typed outline (a sketch focussing on key concepts, definitions, ideas, a heuristic conceptual comparison table, etc.) of what you consider to be the "essence" of the work discussed during the given week. Bring them to class in as many copies as the number of the people in it: We will distribute the notes at the beginning. They serve as (1) basis for in-class discussions, (2) reminder of some of the crucial components of the material for your future reference. Grading is based on a judicious combination of class participation and the paper.

Paper:

Develop a maximum 5000-word (20 single side, double-space pages with a 10-cpi font, 1-inch margins ) research paper on a topic which falls within the broadly-conceived subject matter of the course. Book reviews are not acceptable. The purpose of the paper is to use intelligently and creatively some sociological ideas regarding economic phenomena, broadly construed. Its final version is due on the last day of classes. Hand in a one-paragraph outline of the paper as soon as possible but no later than the sixth class. (Please do use my office hours to discuss possible topics and approaches.) You may submit your outline via email (see my address above).

Schedule


week 1

Intro: Class Organization; History and Basic Propositions of Economic Sociology + visual work

no readings this week


week 2

Economics vs. Sociology: the Boundary Problem

main reading:

Swedberg, Richard. 1990. Economics and Sociology. Redefining their Boundaries: Conversations with Economists and Sociologists. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

other readings:

Hirsch, Paul, Stuart Michaels, and Ray Friedman. 1990. "Clean Models vs. Dirty Hands: Why Economics Is Different from Sociology." Pp. 39-56. in Zukin, Sharon and Paul DiMaggio (eds.) Structures of Capital. The Social Organization of the Economy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Smelser, Neil J. and Richard Swedberg. 1994. "The Sociological Perspective on the Economy." Pp. 3-26. in Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Coleman, James. 1994. "A Rational Choice Perspective on Economic Sociology." Pp. 166-80. in Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Pressman, S. and V. Montecinos. 1996. "The Handbook of Economic Sociology." Journal of Economic Issues. 30, 3(Sep):877-84.


week 3

From Alienation to Revolution (and back)

readings:

Marx, Karl. 1964 (1844). The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Ed. by Dirk Struyk. International Publishers.

Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. 1978 (1848). Manifesto of the Communist Party. London: Penguin.


week 4

Marx Turned on His Head? Political Economy of the Sign

main reading:

Baudrillard, Jean. 1981 (1972) For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign. St. Louis: Telos Press.

other readings:

Poster, Mark. 1975. "Translator's Introduction." pp. 1-16. in Jean Baudrillard: The Mirror of Production. Translated with "Introduction" by Mark Poster. St. Louis: Telos Press.

Poster, Mark. 1984. "Foucault and Sartre" and "Mode of Production, Mode of Information", pp. 1-43 and 44-69 in Mark Poster: Foucault, Marxism & History. Mode of Production versus Mode of Information. Cambridge: Polity Press.


week 5

Sociological Categories of Economic Action

reading:

Weber, Max. 1978(1922). "Sociological Categories of Economic Action." Economy and Society. An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Vol. I. University of California Press, Berkeley. Pp.63-206.

Commentary:

Collins, Randall. 1992. "Weber's Last Theory of Capitalism." Pp. 78-110. in Swedberg, Richard and Mark Granovetter (eds.) The Sociology of Economic Life. Westview Press, Boulder.


week 6

Non-Contractual Elements of the Contract

reading:

Durkheim, Emile. 1992 (1890-1900). Professional Ethics and Civic Morals. Routlege, NY. Chapters XI-XVIII (pp. 121-220.)

further reading:

Parsons, Talcott. 1990(1934). "Prolegomena to a Theory of Social Institutions." American Sociological Review, 55 (June):319-33.

Coleman, James S. 1990. "Commentary: Social Institutions and Social Theory." American Sociological Review, 55(June):333-9.


week 7

Economy beyond the Market: The Gift, the Mosaic Typology, and the Great Transformation

readings:

Mauss, Marcel. 1990(1925). The Gift. The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. With an introduction by Mary Douglas. W.W. Norton, New York.

Polányi, Karl. 1992(1957). "The Economy as Instituted Process." Pp. 29-51. in Swedberg, Richard and Mark Granovetter (eds.) The Sociology of Economic Life. Westview Press, Boulder. OR: in Karl Polanyi, Conrad M. Arensberg and Harry W. Pearson (eds.) 1957. Trade and Market in the Early Empires. Economies in History and Theory. The Free Press, Glencoe, Ill.

Polányi, Karl. 1957 (1944). The Great Transformation. Boston: Beacon Press. ONLY the following chapters (cca. 130 pp.): 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.

commentary:

Block, Fred and Margaret R. Somers. 1984. "Beyond the Economistic Fallacy: The Holistic Social Science of Karl Polanyi." Pp. 47-84. in Skocpol, Theda (ed.) Vision and Method in Historical Sociology. Cambridge UP, Cambridge.


week 8

Institutions and Development (A Relatively Benign, Almost Naive, Hardly Even Noticeable Case of Modernizationism)

readings:

Veblen, Thorstein. 1984(1939). Imperial Germany and the Industrial Revolution. With an introduction by Joseph Dorfman. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. Only the following chapters:

V. Imperial Germany; VI. The Industrial Revolution in Germany; VII. The Economic Policy of the Imperial State; VIII. The Net Gain;

Gerschenkron, Alexander. 1992(1952). "Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective." Pp. 111-130. in Swedberg, Richard and Mark Granovetter (eds.) The Sociology of Economic Life. Westview Press, Boulder. OR: in Hoselitz, Burt (ed.) 1952. The Progress of Underdeveloped Countries. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Sabel, Charles F. 1994. "Learning by Monitoring: The Institutions of Economic Development." Pp. 137-65. in Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

additional reading:

Veblen, Thorstein. 1984(1939). Imperial Germany and the Industrial Revolution. With an introduction by Joseph Dorfman. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. Chapters I through IV. (Introductory--Races and Peoples; The Old Order; The Dynastic State; The Case of England).


week 9

'Institutions' in Institutional and Transaction Cost Economics

readings:

North, Douglass C. 1991. "Institutions." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 1(Winter):97-112.

Williamson, Oliver. 1981. "The Economics of Organization: The Transaction Cost Approach." American Journal of Sociology, 87(Nov) 548-77.

Williamson, Oliver. 1994. "Transaction Cost Economics and Organization Theory." Pp. 77-107. in Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Hodgson, Geoffrey M. 1994. "The Return of Institutional Economics." Pp. 58-76. in Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

further reading:

North, Douglass C. 1990. Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Cambridge University Press.


week 10

Concrete Social Networks qua 'Institutions'

readings:

Granovetter, Mark. 1973. "The Strength of Weak Ties." American Journal of Sociology, 78,6:1360-80.

Granovetter, Mark. 1985. "Economic Action and Social Structure: the Problem of Embeddedness." American Journal of Sociology, 91,3(November):481-510. Reprinted as pp. 53-81. in Granovetter, Mark and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Sociology of Economic Life. Westview Press, Boulder.

Powell, Walter W. and Laurel Smith-Doerr. 1994. "Networks and Ecnomic Life." Pp. 368-402. in Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Swedberg, Richard. 1994. "Markets as Social Structures." Pp. 255-83. in Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Granovetter, Mark. 1994. "Business Groups." Pp. 453-75. in Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.


week 11

(Under)Development(s)

readings:

Gereffi, Gary. 1994. "The International Economy and Economic Development." Pp. 206-33. in Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Kincaid, A. Douglas and Alejandro Portes. 1994 (1989). "Sociology and Development in the 1990s: Critical Challenges and Empirical Trends." Pp. 1-25. in Kincaid, A. Douglas and Alejandro Portes. (eds.) Comparative National Development. Society and Economy in the New Global Order. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. OR: Sociological Forum, 4,4:479-503.

Evans, Peter. 1994 (1990). "Predatory, Developmental, and Other Apparatuses: A Comparative Political Economy Perspective on the Third World State.' Pp. 84-111. in Kincaid, A. Douglas and Alejandro Portes. (eds.) Comparative National Development. Society and Economy in the New Global Order. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill OR: Sociological Forum, 1990.

Escobar, Arturo. 1984. "Discourse and Power in Development: Michel Foucault and the Relevance of His Work to the Third World." Alternatives, 10(3):377-400.

Cardoso, Fernando Henrique. 1977. "The Consumption of Dependency Theory in the United States." Latin American Research Review, 12(3):7-25.

Portes, Alejandro. 1997. "Neoliberalism and the Sociology of Development: Emerging Trends and Unanticipated Facts." Population and Develpoment Review, 23,2:229-.


week 12

CHOICE MADE BY CLASS:

Readings:

Castells, Manuel. 1996. The Rise of the Network Society. Cambridge: Blackwell.


week 13

Informalities

readings:

Portes, Alejandro and Saskia Sassen-Koob. 1987. "Making It Underground: Comparative Material on the Informal Sector in Western Market Economies." American Journal of Sociology, 93,1(July):30-61.

Portes, Alejandro. 1994. "The Informal Economy and Its Paradoxes." Pp. 426-50. in Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Portes, Alejandro and József Böröcz. 1988. "The Informal Sector under Capitalism and State Socialism." Social Justice, 15,3-4:17-28.

Waldinger, R. and M. Lapp. 1993. "Back to the Sweatshop or Ahead to the Informal Sector." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 17,1(Mar):6-29.

Böröcz, József. 1993. "Informality and the Second Economy in East-Central Europe." Pp. 215-44. in Gregory K. Schoepfle and Jorge Pérez-Lopez (eds.) Work Without Protections: Case Studies of the Informal Sector in Developing Countries, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Washington, D.C.


week 14

On Change, Meltdowns, Variability and Capitalism

Readings:

Stark, David and László Bruszt. 1998. Postsocialist Pathways: Transforming Politics and Property in Eastern Europe. NYC: Cambridge UP.

Böröcz, József. 1993. "Simulating the Great Transformation. Property Change under Prolonged Informality in Hungary." Archives européennes de sociologie/ Europäisches Archiv für Soziologie / European Journal of Sociology. XXXIV,1(May):81-107.

Stark, David. 1996. "Recombinant Property in East European Capitalism." AJS, 101, 4, Jan, 993-1027


1. You will find the books in the Recto & Verso bookshop at 90 Albany St, New Brunswick (247-2324). I have also requested that the Graduate Reserves at Alexander Library set them aside for your perusal.