Department of Sociology

Daniel Fridman


Ph.D., Columbia University

Associate Professor
Daniel Fridman

Contact

Interests


Economic Sociology; Ethnography; Sociology of Finance; Neoliberalism; Markets and Consumption; Sociology of Money; Latin America.

Biography


Daniel Fridman is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at UT-Austin. He received his PhD in Sociology from Columbia University, where he was a Mellon Fellow at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. Before joining UT-Austin in 2013, he taught at the University of Victoria and was a fellow at the Centro de Estudios Sociales de la Economía (CESE), Universidad Nacional de San Martín. He previously studied sociology at the University of Buenos Aires and worked for the National Statistics Institute in Argentina. Daniel is interested in the intersections of economy and culture, neoliberalism and financialization, economic policy in Latin America, consumer culture, gift-giving, the sociology of money, and the construction of economic subjects.

His book Freedom From Work: Embracing Financial Self-Help in the United States and Argentina received Honorable Mention for the Best Book Award 2016-2017, given by the American Sociological Association Section on Consumers and Consumption.

El sueño de vivir sin trabajar: una sociología del emprendedorismo, la autoayuda financiera y el nuevo individuo del siglo XXI was published in 2019.

Freedom from Work Cover

                         

                   

Courses


HIS 306N • Key Ideas & Iss In Lat Amer

39375 • Fall 2021
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 214
GC (also listed as LAS 301)

 

 

SOC 396P • Economic Sociology

45055 • Fall 2021
Meets T 12:30PM-3:30PM RLP 1.302F

This graduate seminar introduces students to selected topics in the field of economic sociology broadly considered (including economic anthropology, cultural economy, etc.). Topics will vary each semester, but include: intersections between culture and economy, embeddedness, market society, gifts and commodities, morals and markets, networks, economists and economic knowledge, valuation, financialization, neoliberalism, and others.

Required Texts (the Dean’s Office will not accept “Course Packet” or “TBA”)

Fourcade, Marion. 2007. “Theories of Markets and Theories of Society.” American Behavioral Scientist 50(8):1015–1034.

Fourcade, Marion, and Kieran Healy. 2007. “Moral Views of Market Society.” Annual Review of Sociology 33(1):285–311.

Bandelj, Nina. 2019. “Academic Familism, Spillover Prestige and Gender Segregation in Sociology Subfields: The Trajectory of Economic Sociology.” The American Sociologist 50(4):488–508.

Convert, Bernard, and Johan Heilbron. 2007. “Where did the new economic sociology come from?” Theory and Society 36(1):31–54.

Heilbron, Johan. 2001. “Economic sociology in France.” European Societies 3(1):41–67.

Polanyi, Karl. 2001 [1944]. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Ch. 4, 5, 6.

Graeber, David. 2011. Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Melville House. Ch. 2 (The Myth of Barter).

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1998. “The Economy of Symbolic Goods,” Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Ch. 5 (Pp.. 92-123)

Godbout, Jacques T., and Alain Caillé. 2000. The World of the Gift. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Intro, Ch. 11. (pp. 1-11, 171-195)

Mauss, Marcel. 2000. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. London; New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Block, Fred L. and Margaret R. Somers. 2014. The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi’s Critique. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Chapter 1 (pp. 1-43).

Fraser, Nancy. 2014. “Can Society Be Commodities All the Way down? Post-Polanyian Reflections on Capitalist Crisis.” Economy and Society 43(4): 541–58.

Granovetter, Mark. 1985. “Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness.” The American Journal of Sociology 91(3):481–510.

Krippner, Greta R., and Anthony S. Alvarez. 2007. “Embeddedness and the Intellectual Projects of Economic Sociology.” Annual Review of Sociology 33:219–40.

Beckert, Jens. 2009. “The Great Transformation of Embeddedness: Karl Polanyi and the New Economic Sociology.” Pp. 38–55 in Market and society: the great transformation today, edited by C. M. Hann and K. Hart. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Zelizer, Viviana. 1994. The Social Meaning of Money. New York: BasicBooks. (Ch 1: pp. 1-35)

Zelizer, Viviana. 2005. The Purchase of Intimacy. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (Ch 1: pp. 7-46)

Zelizer, Viviana. 2011. Economic Lives: How Culture Shapes the Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (P6: 17, 18 (pp. 363-397)). (link to library e-book)

Williams, Christine. 2011. “Culturefreak.” Contemporary Sociology 40(5):539–41.

Fourcade, Marion. 2012. “The Moral Sociology of Viviana Zelizer.” Sociological Forum 27(4):1055–61.

Kieran Healy, Dealing with Awkward Relations, https://kieranhealy.org/files/papers/awkward-relations.pdf

Bandelj, Nina. 2020. “Relational Work in the Economy.” Annual Review of Sociology 46(1).

Jim Johnson. 1988. “Mixing Humans and Nonhumans Together: The Sociology of a Door-Closer”

Social Problems, Vol. 35, No. 3, Special Issue: The Sociology of Science and Technology. (June), pp. 298-310.

Latour, Bruno. 2007. “Introduction: How to Resume the Task of Tracing Associations” and “Third Source of Uncertainty: Objects too Have Agency.” In Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. New York: Oxford University Press. (Pp. 1-17, 63-86)

Callon, Michel. 1998. “The Embeddedness of Economic Markets in Economics.” Pp. 1–57 in The laws of the markets. Oxford; Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers/Sociological Review.

Holm, Petter. 2007. “Which way is up on Callon?” Pp. 225–243 in Do economists make markets?: On the performativity of economics, edited by Donald MacKenzie, Fabian Muniesa, and Lucia Siu. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Rose, Nikolas, Pat O’Malley, and Mariana Valverde. 2006. “Governmentality.” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 2(1):83–104.

Miller, Peter. 2001. “Governing by numbers: Why calculative practices matters.” Social Research 68(2):379.

Miller, Peter. 2008. “Calculating Economic Life.” Journal of Cultural Economy 1(1):51–64.

Fridman, Daniel. 2016. Freedom from Work: Embracing Financial Self-Help in the United States and Argentina. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Introduction, Ch 2 and 3.

Fourcade, Marion. 2011. “Cents and Sensibility: Economic Valuation and the Nature of ‘Nature.’” American Journal of Sociology 116(6):1721–77.

Degenshein, Anya. 2017. “Strategies of Valuation: Repertoires of Worth at the Financial Margins.” Theory and Society 1–23.

Hood, Katherine. 2017. “The Science of Value: Economic Expertise and the Valuation of Human Life in US Federal Regulatory Agencies.” Social Studies of Science 0306312717693465.

Rudrappa, Sharmila. 2015. Discounted Life: The Price of Global Surrogacy in India. New York ; London: NYU Press. (Intro, ch. 4, 5: pp.1-19, 83-125).

Healy, Kieran. 2006. Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the Market for Human Blood and Organs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ch 1, 2, 5, 6: (pp. 1-42, 87-132).

Almeling, Rene. 2011. Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Guseva, Alya. 2020. “Scandals, morality wars, and the field of reproductive surrogacy in Ukraine.” Economic Sociology: The European Electronic Newsletter 21(3): 4-10.

Roscoe, Philip. 2013. “On the Possibility of Organ Markets and the Performativity of Economics.” Journal of Cultural Economy 6(4):386–401.

Lainer-Vos, Dan. 2013. “The Practical Organization of Moral Transactions: Gift Giving, Market Exchange, Credit, and the Making of Diaspora Bonds.” Sociological Theory 31(2):145–67.

Rossman, Gabriel. 2014. “Obfuscatory Relational Work and Disreputable Exchange.” Sociological Theory 32(1):43–63.

Fridman, Daniel, and Alex Luscombe. 2017. “Gift-Giving, Disreputable Exchange, and the Management of Donations in a Police Department.” Social Forces 96(2):507–28.

Wherry, Frederick F., Kristin S. Seefeldt, and Anthony S. Alvarez. 2019. “To Lend or Not to Lend to Friends and Kin: Awkwardness, Obfuscation, and Negative Reciprocity.” Social Forces 98(2):753–93.

Lin, Ken-Hou, and Megan Tobias Neely. 2020. Divested: Inequality in the Age of Finance. New York: Oxford University Press.

O’Malley, Michael. 2012. Face Value: The Entwined Histories of Money and Race in America. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Wherry, Frederick F., Kristin S. Seefeldt, and Anthony S. Alvarez. 2019. Credit Where It’s Due: Rethinking Financial Citizenship. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Introduction, ch 2, ch 4. (pp. 1-21, 39-64, 80-98)

Baradaran, Mehrsa. 2018. How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy. Reprint edition. Harvard University Press. (Chapters TBD).

Dwyer, Rachel E. 2018. “Credit, Debt, and Inequality.” Annual Review of Sociology 44(1):237–61.

Kiviat, Barbara. 2019. “Credit Scoring in the United States.” Economic Sociology 21(1):10.

Kiviat, Barbara. 2019. “The Art of Deciding with Data: Evidence from How Employers Translate Credit Reports into Hiring Decisions.” Socio-Economic Review 17(2):283–309.

Ascher, Ivan. 2016. Portfolio Society: On the Capitalist Mode of Prediction. New York: Zone Books.

Fourcade, Marion, and Kieran Healy. 2017. “Seeing like a Market.” Socio-Economic Review 15(1):9–29.

Roscoe, Philip. 2015. A Richer Life: How Economics Can Change the Way We Think and Feel. London: Penguin Books.

Grading Policy

Class participation ~35%

Leading Class Discussion ~20%

Forum Responses ~10%

Final Paper ~35%

SOC 321C • Consumption In Latin Amer-Wb

44680 • Spring 2021
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM
Internet; Synchronous
GC (also listed as LAS 325)

Description

Consumption is at the same time an economic, political and cultural phenomenon. During the twentieth-century and the beginning of the twenty first, in many parts of the world the promise of extending mass-consumption became a central part of political discourses about the rights and benefits of citizens. In Latin America, the goal of achieving a vibrant internal consumer market was conflated by many with the idea of development, progress, and modernity. Conceptually, consumers have been seen alternatively as the sovereigns of markets, as victims of manipulation, or as a locus of resistance and expression. In this course, we will study the place of consumption in social, economic, and political relations in Latin America. We will read recent literature from various disciplines (sociology, history, anthropology, etc.) on consumer culture in the region, with a special focus on Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil. We will deal with a variety of topics and consumption goods, including consumer policies, popular consumption, advertising, neoliberal consumption, middle class consumer culture, home appliances, jeans and tupperware.

Grading 

Students are expected to attend all classes and complete all assigned work, are responsible for ensuring they are properly registered in all their courses, and that they have officially dropped any courses which they do not plan to include in their program. All written work will be graded on the quality of content as well as writing skills. 

Your grade will be calculated as follows: 

First Exam: 25% 

Paper: 25% 

Second Exam: 30% 

Class participation and forum responses: 20% 

 

SOC 379M • Sociological Theory-Wb

44845 • Spring 2021
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM
Internet; Synchronous

Description:

The course introduces students to some of the main sociological theories and theorists since the late 19th century. The main focus of the class (about two thirds of the semester) will be on three classic authors: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. In the last part of the semester, we will cover selected sociological theorists from the second half of the twentieth century, including Alfred Schutz, Erving Goffman, Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour and Dorothy Smith. My goal is to introduce you to interesting and imaginative authors that took great pains to answer tough questions about society. Some readings will be more difficult than others, some will be more fun than others, and you will be more interested in some readings over others. But all of them will be worth your effort, as they will provide you with a solid grounding in the core theories that have informed sociological thinking since its beginnings. However, of course not everything about theory is reading; a great deal of your work will be thinking “theoretically”. I think that theories are a bit like play dough. They have a defined shape, but they can also be stretched, reshaped, and combined with other pieces. The final shape will not always satisfy you, but you can always start over. So, our goal will be to understand the theories by “playing” with them and relating them to what we usually call the “real world” (although ‘one’s world’ is not the same as the ‘real world’). Eventually, I hope you will discover how powerful and useful sociological theories can be to help you answer some of the toughest questions about societies.

Readings:

 Most readings will be in a course packet, in addition to two or three books TBA.

Grading (tentative)

Exams (60%)

Paper (25%)

Class participation and forum posts (15%)

HIS 306N • Key Ideas/Iss In Lat Amer-Wb

37890 • Fall 2020
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM
Internet; Synchronous
GC (also listed as LAS 301)

 

 

SOC 379M • Sociological Theory

43885 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM RLP 1.106

Description:

The course introduces students to some of the main sociological theories and theorists since the late 19th century. The main focus of the class (about two thirds of the semester) will be on three classic authors: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. In the last part of the semester, we will cover selected sociological theorists from the second half of the twentieth century, including Alfred Schutz, Erving Goffman, Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour and Dorothy Smith. My goal is to introduce you to interesting and imaginative authors that took great pains to answer tough questions about society. Some readings will be more difficult than others, some will be more fun than others, and you will be more interested in some readings over others. But all of them will be worth your effort, as they will provide you with a solid grounding in the core theories that have informed sociological thinking since its beginnings. However, of course not everything about theory is reading; a great deal of your work will be thinking “theoretically”. I think that theories are a bit like play dough. They have a defined shape, but they can also be stretched, reshaped, and combined with other pieces. The final shape will not always satisfy you, but you can always start over. So, our goal will be to understand the theories by “playing” with them and relating them to what we usually call the “real world” (although ‘one’s world’ is not the same as the ‘real world’). Eventually, I hope you will discover how powerful and useful sociological theories can be to help you answer some of the toughest questions about societies.

Readings:

 Most readings will be in a course packet, in addition to two or three books TBA.

Grading (tentative)

Exams (60%)

Paper (25%)

Class participation and forum posts (15%)

SOC 396P • Development Mkts & Soc Lat Am

43985 • Spring 2020
Meets TH 12:00PM-3:00PM SRH 1.313
(also listed as LAS 381)

Description:

This graduate seminar invites students to critically examine and discuss the role of the market in contemporary society, both from a theoretical point of view and empirically in the case of Latin American societies. Development in Latin America and elsewhere in the last few decades has been intertwined with the idea that markets should have a more prominent role in societies. This is a distinct feature of neoliberalism, although it partly continues longer term trends.  The readings will be for the most part structured around three perspectives, each of which will be explored first theoretically and then as it is used in empirical research about Latin America. The first perspective emerges from the work of Karl Polanyi, and it basically examines the historical effects of markets when disembedded from society. The second perspective comes from the work of Michel Foucault, particularly his late period, and other scholars that consider neoliberalism as “governmentality” and markets as a technique of government in contemporary societies. Finally the third perspective comes from the work of Viviana Zelizer, who considers the role of culture in reclaiming markets and money and creating meaningful social exchanges.

HIS 306N • Key Ideas & Iss In Lat Amer

37990 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 214
GC (also listed as LAS 301)

 

 

SOC 321E • Economy, Culture, & Society

43485 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM RLP 1.104

Description:

This class introduces students to the study of the intersections between economy and culture. ster.

Gift-giving seems to be at first sight a trivial topic for sociology. Like many other phenomena that happen in our everyday life, gifts appear to vanish into what Erving Goffman once called the ‘dust’ of social life. Yet, the gift is a true mystery that social scientists are still trying to uncover. Why and how do we give and receive gifts? Is a gift an act of pure generosity? Do you think of gifts received before giving one? The latter question brings up a set of more uncomfortable questions: Is a gift a simple act of exchange? What is the difference between a gift and a mercantile exchange? Our answers to the questions above will lead us to explore some of the core issues that sociology has dealt with: social organization and social structure, social norms, the relation between individual and society, the nature of economic and non-economic exchange, reciprocity, obligation, cultural meanings and power, among others. Our answers will have an impact on our ideas of who we are: Are we altruistic and generous? Are we selfish and self-interested? What are the conditions under which generosity and self-interest work or do not work? These questions have also timely political relevance. With the recent expansion of neoliberalism, market arrangements based on rational and self-interested individuals have been posed as an efficient and desirable form of organizing social life in various realms. An exploration of the nature of gift-giving and its workings in current contexts may help us evaluate those neoliberal claims and explore alternative arrangements.

The readings will take us from pre-modern to current societies; from the potlatch in Western Canada to understanding who pays for dinner or drinks; from the decoration of gifted money to charity and philanthropy; from economies of care to organ and blood donation; from garage sales to State Diaspora bonds; from expressing gratitude to tipping. I expect that, in our discussions, we will broaden even more the repertoire of social phenomena that involves some form of gift-giving.

Readings (tentative)

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W.W. Norton, 1990 [1923].
  • Jacques Godbout and Alain Caille, The World of The Gift, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.
  • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012.
  • Online readings.

Grading policy (tentative):

Exams: 60%

Short Paper: 25%

Participation/online responses: 15%

SOC F321E • Economy, Culture, & Society

83750 • Summer 2019
Meets MTWTHF 11:30AM-1:00PM RLP 0.124

Description:

This class introduces students to the study of the intersections between economy and culture. ster.

Gift-giving seems to be at first sight a trivial topic for sociology. Like many other phenomena that happen in our everyday life, gifts appear to vanish into what Erving Goffman once called the ‘dust’ of social life. Yet, the gift is a true mystery that social scientists are still trying to uncover. Why and how do we give and receive gifts? Is a gift an act of pure generosity? Do you think of gifts received before giving one? The latter question brings up a set of more uncomfortable questions: Is a gift a simple act of exchange? What is the difference between a gift and a mercantile exchange? Our answers to the questions above will lead us to explore some of the core issues that sociology has dealt with: social organization and social structure, social norms, the relation between individual and society, the nature of economic and non-economic exchange, reciprocity, obligation, cultural meanings and power, among others. Our answers will have an impact on our ideas of who we are: Are we altruistic and generous? Are we selfish and self-interested? What are the conditions under which generosity and self-interest work or do not work? These questions have also timely political relevance. With the recent expansion of neoliberalism, market arrangements based on rational and self-interested individuals have been posed as an efficient and desirable form of organizing social life in various realms. An exploration of the nature of gift-giving and its workings in current contexts may help us evaluate those neoliberal claims and explore alternative arrangements.

The readings will take us from pre-modern to current societies; from the potlatch in Western Canada to understanding who pays for dinner or drinks; from the decoration of gifted money to charity and philanthropy; from economies of care to organ and blood donation; from garage sales to State Diaspora bonds; from expressing gratitude to tipping. I expect that, in our discussions, we will broaden even more the repertoire of social phenomena that involves some form of gift-giving.

Readings (tentative)

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W.W. Norton, 1990 [1923].
  • Jacques Godbout and Alain Caille, The World of The Gift, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.
  • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012.
  • Online readings.

Grading policy (tentative):

Exams: 60%

Short Paper: 25%

Participation/online responses: 15%

SOC 379M • Sociological Theory

44385 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM RLP 1.106

Description:

The course introduces students to some of the main sociological theories and theorists since the late 19th century. The main focus of the class (about two thirds of the semester) will be on three classic authors: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. In the last part of the semester, we will cover selected sociological theorists from the second half of the twentieth century, including Alfred Schutz, Erving Goffman, Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour and Dorothy Smith. My goal is to introduce you to interesting and imaginative authors that took great pains to answer tough questions about society. Some readings will be more difficult than others, some will be more fun than others, and you will be more interested in some readings over others. But all of them will be worth your effort, as they will provide you with a solid grounding in the core theories that have informed sociological thinking since its beginnings. However, of course not everything about theory is reading; a great deal of your work will be thinking “theoretically”. I think that theories are a bit like play dough. They have a defined shape, but they can also be stretched, reshaped, and combined with other pieces. The final shape will not always satisfy you, but you can always start over. So, our goal will be to understand the theories by “playing” with them and relating them to what we usually call the “real world” (although ‘one’s world’ is not the same as the ‘real world’). Eventually, I hope you will discover how powerful and useful sociological theories can be to help you answer some of the toughest questions about societies.

Readings:

 Most readings will be in a course packet, in addition to two or three books TBA.

Grading (tentative)

Exams (60%)

Paper (25%)

Class participation and forum posts (15%)

 

SOC 396P • Development Mkts & Soc Lat Am

44480 • Spring 2019
Meets T 12:00PM-3:00PM SRH 1.313
(also listed as LAS 381)

Description:

This graduate seminar invites students to critically examine and discuss the role of the market in contemporary society, both from a theoretical point of view and empirically in the case of Latin American societies. Development in Latin America and elsewhere in the last few decades has been intertwined with the idea that markets should have a more prominent role in societies. This is a distinct feature of neoliberalism, although it partly continues longer term trends.  The readings will be for the most part structured around three perspectives, each of which will be explored first theoretically and then as it is used in empirical research about Latin America. The first perspective emerges from the work of Karl Polanyi, and it basically examines the historical effects of markets when disembedded from society. The second perspective comes from the work of Michel Foucault, particularly his late period, and other scholars that consider neoliberalism as “governmentality” and markets as a technique of government in contemporary societies. Finally the third perspective comes from the work of Viviana Zelizer, who considers the role of culture in reclaiming markets and money and creating meaningful social exchanges.

SOC 321C • Consumption In Latin Amer

44755 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SRH 1.313
GC (also listed as LAS 325)

Description

Consumption is at the same time an economic, political and cultural phenomenon. During the twentieth-century and the beginning of the twenty first, in many parts of the world the promise of extending mass-consumption became a central part of political discourses about the rights and benefits of citizens. In Latin America, the goal of achieving a vibrant internal consumer market was conflated by many with the idea of development, progress, and modernity. Conceptually, consumers have been seen alternatively as the sovereigns of markets, as victims of manipulation, or as a locus of resistance and expression. In this course, we will study the place of consumption in social, economic, and political relations in Latin America. We will read recent literature from various disciplines (sociology, history, anthropology, etc.) on consumer culture in the region, with a special focus on Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil. We will deal with a variety of topics and consumption goods, including consumer policies, popular consumption, advertising, neoliberal consumption, middle class consumer culture, home appliances, jeans and tupperware.

Grading 

Students are expected to attend all classes and complete all assigned work, are responsible for ensuring they are properly registered in all their courses, and that they have officially dropped any courses which they do not plan to include in their program. All written work will be graded on the quality of content as well as writing skills. 

Your grade will be calculated as follows: 

First Exam: 25% 

Paper: 25% 

Second Exam: 30% 

Class participation and forum responses: 20% 

 

SOC 321E • Economy, Culture, & Society

44760 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BUR 134

Description:

This class introduces students to the study of the intersections between economy and culture. ster.

Gift-giving seems to be at first sight a trivial topic for sociology. Like many other phenomena that happen in our everyday life, gifts appear to vanish into what Erving Goffman once called the ‘dust’ of social life. Yet, the gift is a true mystery that social scientists are still trying to uncover. Why and how do we give and receive gifts? Is a gift an act of pure generosity? Do you think of gifts received before giving one? The latter question brings up a set of more uncomfortable questions: Is a gift a simple act of exchange? What is the difference between a gift and a mercantile exchange? Our answers to the questions above will lead us to explore some of the core issues that sociology has dealt with: social organization and social structure, social norms, the relation between individual and society, the nature of economic and non-economic exchange, reciprocity, obligation, cultural meanings and power, among others. Our answers will have an impact on our ideas of who we are: Are we altruistic and generous? Are we selfish and self-interested? What are the conditions under which generosity and self-interest work or do not work? These questions have also timely political relevance. With the recent expansion of neoliberalism, market arrangements based on rational and self-interested individuals have been posed as an efficient and desirable form of organizing social life in various realms. An exploration of the nature of gift-giving and its workings in current contexts may help us evaluate those neoliberal claims and explore alternative arrangements.

The readings will take us from pre-modern to current societies; from the potlatch in Western Canada to understanding who pays for dinner or drinks; from the decoration of gifted money to charity and philanthropy; from economies of care to organ and blood donation; from garage sales to State Diaspora bonds; from expressing gratitude to tipping. I expect that, in our discussions, we will broaden even more the repertoire of social phenomena that involves some form of gift-giving.

Readings (tentative)

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W.W. Norton, 1990 [1923].
  • Jacques Godbout and Alain Caille, The World of The Gift, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.
  • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012.
  • Online readings.

Grading policy (tentative):

Exams: 60%

Short Paper: 25%

Participation/online responses: 15%

 

 

SOC 379M • Sociological Theory

45065 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CLA 1.106

Description:

The course introduces students to some of the main sociological theories and theorists since the late 19th century. The main focus of the class (about two thirds of the semester) will be on three classic authors: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. In the last part of the semester, we will cover selected sociological theorists from the second half of the twentieth century, including Alfred Schutz, Erving Goffman, Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour and Dorothy Smith. My goal is to introduce you to interesting and imaginative authors that took great pains to answer tough questions about society. Some readings will be more difficult than others, some will be more fun than others, and you will be more interested in some readings over others. But all of them will be worth your effort, as they will provide you with a solid grounding in the core theories that have informed sociological thinking since its beginnings. However, of course not everything about theory is reading; a great deal of your work will be thinking “theoretically”. I think that theories are a bit like play dough. They have a defined shape, but they can also be stretched, reshaped, and combined with other pieces. The final shape will not always satisfy you, but you can always start over. So, our goal will be to understand the theories by “playing” with them and relating them to what we usually call the “real world” (although ‘one’s world’ is not the same as the ‘real world’). Eventually, I hope you will discover how powerful and useful sociological theories can be to help you answer some of the toughest questions about societies.

Readings:

 Most readings will be in a course packet, in addition to two or three books TBA.

Grading (tentative)

Exams (60%)

Paper (25%)

Class participation and forum posts (15%)

 

 

SOC 396P • Development Mkts & Soc Lat Am

45179 • Spring 2018
Meets T 12:00PM-3:00PM SRH 1.313
(also listed as LAS 381)

This graduate seminar invites students to critically examine and discuss the role of the market in contemporary society, both from a theoretical point of view and empirically in the case of Latin American societies. Development in Latin America and elsewhere in the last few decades has been intertwined with the idea that markets should have a more prominent role in societies. This is a distinct feature of neoliberalism, although it partly continues longer term trends.  The readings will be for the most part structured around three perspectives, each of which will be explored first theoretically and then as it is used in empirical research about Latin America. The first perspective emerges from the work of Karl Polanyi, and it basically examines the historical effects of markets when disembedded from society. The second perspective comes from the work of Michel Foucault, particularly his late period, and other scholars that consider neoliberalism as “governmentality” and markets as a technique of government in contemporary societies. Finally the third perspective comes from the work of Viviana Zelizer, who considers the role of culture in reclaiming markets and money and creating meaningful social exchanges.

SOC 321C • Consumption In Latin Amer

45380 • Fall 2017
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SRH 1.320
(also listed as LAS 325)

Description

Consumption is at the same time an economic, political and cultural phenomenon. During the twentieth-century and the beginning of the twenty first, in many parts of the world the promise of extending mass-consumption became a central part of political discourses about the rights and benefits of citizens. In Latin America, the goal of achieving a vibrant internal consumer market was conflated by many with the idea of development, progress, and modernity. Conceptually, consumers have been seen alternatively as the sovereigns of markets, as victims of manipulation, or as a locus of resistance and expression. In this course, we will study the place of consumption in social, economic, and political relations in Latin America. We will read recent literature from various disciplines (sociology, history, anthropology, etc.) on consumer culture in the region, with a special focus on Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil. We will deal with a variety of topics and consumption goods, including consumer policies, popular consumption, advertising, neoliberal consumption, middle class consumer culture, home appliances, jeans and tupperware.

Grading 

Students are expected to attend all classes and complete all assigned work, are responsible for ensuring they are properly registered in all their courses, and that they have officially dropped any courses which they do not plan to include in their program. All written work will be graded on the quality of content as well as writing skills. 

Your grade will be calculated as follows: 

First Exam: 25% 

Paper: 25% 

Second Exam: 30% 

Class participation and forum responses: 20% 

 

SOC 321E • Economy, Culture, & Society

45383 • Fall 2017
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 1

Description:

This class introduces students to the study of the intersections between economy and culture. ster.

Gift-giving seems to be at first sight a trivial topic for sociology. Like many other phenomena that happen in our everyday life, gifts appear to vanish into what Erving Goffman once called the ‘dust’ of social life. Yet, the gift is a true mystery that social scientists are still trying to uncover. Why and how do we give and receive gifts? Is a gift an act of pure generosity? Do you think of gifts received before giving one? The latter question brings up a set of more uncomfortable questions: Is a gift a simple act of exchange? What is the difference between a gift and a mercantile exchange? Our answers to the questions above will lead us to explore some of the core issues that sociology has dealt with: social organization and social structure, social norms, the relation between individual and society, the nature of economic and non-economic exchange, reciprocity, obligation, cultural meanings and power, among others. Our answers will have an impact on our ideas of who we are: Are we altruistic and generous? Are we selfish and self-interested? What are the conditions under which generosity and self-interest work or do not work? These questions have also timely political relevance. With the recent expansion of neoliberalism, market arrangements based on rational and self-interested individuals have been posed as an efficient and desirable form of organizing social life in various realms. An exploration of the nature of gift-giving and its workings in current contexts may help us evaluate those neoliberal claims and explore alternative arrangements.

The readings will take us from pre-modern to current societies; from the potlatch in Western Canada to understanding who pays for dinner or drinks; from the decoration of gifted money to charity and philanthropy; from economies of care to organ and blood donation; from garage sales to State Diaspora bonds; from expressing gratitude to tipping. I expect that, in our discussions, we will broaden even more the repertoire of social phenomena that involves some form of gift-giving.

Readings (tentative)

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W.W. Norton, 1990 [1923].
  • Jacques Godbout and Alain Caille, The World of The Gift, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.
  • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012.
  • Online readings.

Grading policy (tentative):

Exams: 60%

Short Paper: 25%

Participation/online responses: 15%

LAS 381 • Development Mkts & Soc Lat Am

40590 • Spring 2017
Meets TH 2:00PM-5:00PM SRH 1.320

This graduate seminar invites students to critically examine and discuss the role of the market in contemporary society, both from a theoretical point of view and empirically in the case of Latin American societies. Development in Latin America and elsewhere in the last few decades has been intertwined with the idea that markets should have a more prominent role in societies. This is a distinct feature of neoliberalism, although it partly continues longer term trends. The course, therefore, focuses on the relations between markets and society in the context of neoliberalism. The readings will be for the most part structured around three perspectives, each of which will be explored first theoretically and then as it is used in empirical research about Latin America. The first perspective emerges from the work of Karl Polanyi, and it basically examines the historical effects of markets when disembedded from society. The second perspective comes from the work of Michel Foucault, particularly his late period, and other scholars that consider neoliberalism as “governmentality” and markets as a technique of government in contemporary societies. Finally the third perspective comes from the work of Viviana Zelizer, who considers the role of culture in reclaiming markets and money and creating meaningful social exchanges.

SOC 321C • Consumption In Latin Amer

45420 • Spring 2017
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SRH 1.320
(also listed as LAS 325)

Consumption is at the same time an economic, political and cultural phenomenon. During the twentieth-century and the beginning of the twenty first, in many parts of the world the promise of extending mass-consumption became a central part of political discourses about the rights and benefits of citizens. In Latin America, the goal of achieving a vibrant internal consumer market was conflated by many with the idea of development, progress, and modernity. Conceptually, consumers have been seen alternatively as the sovereigns of markets, as victims of manipulation, or as a locus of resistance and expression. In this course, we will study the place of consumption in social, economic, and political relations in Latin America. We will read recent literature from various disciplines (sociology, history, anthropology, etc.) on consumer culture in the region, with a special focus on Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil. We will deal with a variety of topics and consumption goods, including consumer policies, popular consumption, advertising, neoliberal consumption, middle class consumer culture, home appliances, jeans and tupperware.

SOC 379M • Sociological Theory

44650 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CLA 1.106

Description

The course introduces students to some of the main sociological theories and theorists since the late 19th century. The main focus of the class (about two thirds of the semester) will be on three classic authors: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. In the last part of the semester, we will cover selected sociological theorists from the second half of the twentieth century, including Alfred Schutz, Erving Goffman, Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour and Dorothy Smith. My goal is to introduce you to interesting and imaginative authors that took great pains to answer tough questions about society. Some readings will be more difficult than others, some will be more fun than others, and you will be more interested in some readings over others. But all of them will be worth your effort, as they will provide you with a solid grounding in the core theories that have informed sociological thinking since its beginnings. However, of course not everything about theory is reading; a great deal of your work will be thinking “theoretically”. I think that theories are a bit like play dough. They have a defined shape, but they can also be stretched, reshaped, and combined with other pieces. The final shape will not always satisfy you, but you can always start over. So, our goal will be to understand the theories by “playing” with them and relating them to what we usually call the “real world” (although ‘one’s world’ is not the same as the ‘real world’). Eventually, I hope you will discover how powerful and useful sociological theories can be to help you answer some of the toughest questions about societies.

Readings Most readings will be in a course packet, in addition to two or three books TBA.

Grading (tentative)

Exams (60%)

Paper (25%)

Class participation and forum posts (15%)

SOC 379M • Sociological Theory

44655 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 1.106

Description

The course introduces students to some of the main sociological theories and theorists since the late 19th century. The main focus of the class (about two thirds of the semester) will be on three classic authors: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. In the last part of the semester, we will cover selected sociological theorists from the second half of the twentieth century, including Alfred Schutz, Erving Goffman, Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour and Dorothy Smith. My goal is to introduce you to interesting and imaginative authors that took great pains to answer tough questions about society. Some readings will be more difficult than others, some will be more fun than others, and you will be more interested in some readings over others. But all of them will be worth your effort, as they will provide you with a solid grounding in the core theories that have informed sociological thinking since its beginnings. However, of course not everything about theory is reading; a great deal of your work will be thinking “theoretically”. I think that theories are a bit like play dough. They have a defined shape, but they can also be stretched, reshaped, and combined with other pieces. The final shape will not always satisfy you, but you can always start over. So, our goal will be to understand the theories by “playing” with them and relating them to what we usually call the “real world” (although ‘one’s world’ is not the same as the ‘real world’). Eventually, I hope you will discover how powerful and useful sociological theories can be to help you answer some of the toughest questions about societies.

Readings Most readings will be in a course packet, in addition to two or three books TBA.

Grading (tentative)

Exams (60%)

Paper (25%)

Class participation and forum posts (15%)

SOC 321E • Economy, Culture, & Society

44600 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 0.128

Description:

This class introduces students to the study of the intersections between economy and culture. ster.

Gift-giving seems to be at first sight a trivial topic for sociology. Like many other phenomena that happen in our everyday life, gifts appear to vanish into what Erving Goffman once called the ‘dust’ of social life. Yet, the gift is a true mystery that social scientists are still trying to uncover. Why and how do we give and receive gifts? Is a gift an act of pure generosity? Do you think of gifts received before giving one? The latter question brings up a set of more uncomfortable questions: Is a gift a simple act of exchange? What is the difference between a gift and a mercantile exchange? Our answers to the questions above will lead us to explore some of the core issues that sociology has dealt with: social organization and social structure, social norms, the relation between individual and society, the nature of economic and non-economic exchange, reciprocity, obligation, cultural meanings and power, among others. Our answers will have an impact on our ideas of who we are: Are we altruistic and generous? Are we selfish and self-interested? What are the conditions under which generosity and self-interest work or do not work? These questions have also timely political relevance. With the recent expansion of neoliberalism, market arrangements based on rational and self-interested individuals have been posed as an efficient and desirable form of organizing social life in various realms. An exploration of the nature of gift-giving and its workings in current contexts may help us evaluate those neoliberal claims and explore alternative arrangements.

The readings will take us from pre-modern to current societies; from the potlatch in Western Canada to understanding who pays for dinner or drinks; from the decoration of gifted money to charity and philanthropy; from economies of care to organ and blood donation; from garage sales to State Diaspora bonds; from expressing gratitude to tipping. I expect that, in our discussions, we will broaden even more the repertoire of social phenomena that involves some form of gift-giving.

Readings (tentative)

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W.W. Norton, 1990 [1923].
  • Jacques Godbout and Alain Caille, The World of The Gift, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.
  • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012.
  • Online readings.

Grading policy (tentative):

Exams: 60%

Short Paper: 25%

Participation/online responses: 15%

SOC 396P • Development Mkts & Soc Lat Am

44809 • Fall 2015
Meets TH 2:00PM-5:00PM CLA 0.124
(also listed as LAS 381)

This graduate seminar examines debates about development in Latin America from the 19th century to today. The course will cover successive development paradigms in the region, from export oriented, import substitution industrialization, neoliberalism, to postneoliberalism. We will pay special attention to theoretical debates and empirical research about the role of markets and economic expertise in Latin America’s development and in society more generally.

SOC 321C • Consumption In Latin Amer

44975 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 1.108
(also listed as LAS 325)

Consumption is at the same time an economic, political and cultural phenomenon. During the twentieth-century and the beginning of the twenty first, in many parts of the world the promise of extending mass-consumption became a central part of political discourses about the rights and benefits of citizens. In Latin America, the goal of achieving a vibrant internal consumer market was conflated by many with the idea of development, progress, and modernity. Conceptually, consumers have been seen alternatively as the sovereigns of markets, as victims of manipulation, or as a locus of resistance and expression. In this course, we will study the place of consumption in social, economic, and political relations in Latin America. We will read recent literature from various disciplines (sociology, history, anthropology, etc.) on consumer culture in the region, with a special focus on Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil. We will deal with a variety of topics and consumption goods, including consumer policies, popular consumption, advertising, neoliberal consumption, middle class consumer culture, home appliances, jeans and tupperware.

SOC 379M • Sociological Theory

45095 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CLA 0.102

Description

The course introduces students to some of the main sociological theories and theorists since the late 19th century, including classic (Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber), mid-century (Alfred Schutz’s pehnomenology, Harold Garfinkel’s ethnomethodology, Erving Goffman, Western Marxism), and late twentieth century (Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour, Dorothy Smith). My goal is to introduce you to interesting and imaginative authors that took great pains to answer tough questions about society. Some readings will be more difficult than others, some will be more fun than others, and you will be more interested in some readings over others. But all of them will be worth your effort. However, not everything about theory is reading; a great deal of your work will be thinking “theoretically”. I think that theories are a bit like play dough. They have a defined shape, but they can also be stretched, reshaped, and combined with other pieces. The final shape will not always satisfy you, but you can always start over. So, our goal will be to understand the theories by “playing” with them and relating them to what we usually call the “real world” (although ‘one’s world’ is not the same as the ‘real world’). Eventually, I hope you will discover how powerful and useful sociological theories can be to help you answer some of the toughest questions about societies.

Readings

Most readings will be in a course packet, in addition to two or three books TBA.

Grading (tentative)

Exams (60%)

Paper (25%)

Class participation and forum posts (15%)

LAS 384 • Prosmnr: Curr Iss In Lat Amer

40775 • Fall 2014
Meets F 10:00AM-1:00PM SRH 1.313

Latin American Studies 381 (Topic: Proseminar: Latin America in the Twentieth Century) and 384 may not both be counted.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in Latin American studies.

Restricted enrollment

SOC 321E • Economy, Culture, & Society

46165 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 1.106

Description:

 

This class introduces students to the study of the intersections between economy and culture. ster.

Gift-giving seems to be at first sight a trivial topic for sociology. Like many other phenomena that happen in our everyday life, gifts appear to vanish into what Erving Goffman once called the ‘dust’ of social life. Yet, the gift is a true mystery that social scientists are still trying to uncover. Why and how do we give and receive gifts? Is a gift an act of pure generosity? Do you think of gifts received before giving one? The latter question brings up a set of more uncomfortable questions: Is a gift a simple act of exchange? What is the difference between a gift and a mercantile exchange? Our answers to the questions above will lead us to explore some of the core issues that sociology has dealt with: social organization and social structure, social norms, the relation between individual and society, the nature of economic and non-economic exchange, reciprocity, obligation, cultural meanings and power, among others. Our answers will have an impact on our ideas of who we are: Are we altruistic and generous? Are we selfish and self-interested? What are the conditions under which generosity and self-interest work or do not work? These questions have also timely political relevance. With the recent expansion of neoliberalism, market arrangements based on rational and self-interested individuals have been posed as an efficient and desirable form of organizing social life in various realms. An exploration of the nature of gift-giving and its workings in current contexts may help us evaluate those neoliberal claims and explore alternative arrangements.

The readings will take us from pre-modern to current societies; from the potlatch in Western Canada to understanding who pays for dinner or drinks; from the decoration of gifted money to charity and philanthropy; from economies of care to organ and blood donation; from garage sales to State Diaspora bonds; from expressing gratitude to tipping. I expect that, in our discussions, we will broaden even more the repertoire of social phenomena that involves some form of gift-giving.

Readings (tentative)

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W.W. Norton, 1990 [1923].
  • Jacques Godbout and Alain Caille, The World of The Gift, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.
  • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012.
  • Online readings.

Grading policy (tentative):

Exams: 60%

Short Paper: 25%

Participation/online responses: 15%

SOC 321K • Economy, Culture, And Society

46380 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 0.128

Description:

 

This class introduces students to the study of the intersections between economy and culture. ster.

Gift-giving seems to be at first sight a trivial topic for sociology. Like many other phenomena that happen in our everyday life, gifts appear to vanish into what Erving Goffman once called the ‘dust’ of social life. Yet, the gift is a true mystery that social scientists are still trying to uncover. Why and how do we give and receive gifts? Is a gift an act of pure generosity? Do you think of gifts received before giving one? The latter question brings up a set of more uncomfortable questions: Is a gift a simple act of exchange? What is the difference between a gift and a mercantile exchange? Our answers to the questions above will lead us to explore some of the core issues that sociology has dealt with: social organization and social structure, social norms, the relation between individual and society, the nature of economic and non-economic exchange, reciprocity, obligation, cultural meanings and power, among others. Our answers will have an impact on our ideas of who we are: Are we altruistic and generous? Are we selfish and self-interested? What are the conditions under which generosity and self-interest work or do not work? These questions have also timely political relevance. With the recent expansion of neoliberalism, market arrangements based on rational and self-interested individuals have been posed as an efficient and desirable form of organizing social life in various realms. An exploration of the nature of gift-giving and its workings in current contexts may help us evaluate those neoliberal claims and explore alternative arrangements.

The readings will take us from pre-modern to current societies; from the potlatch in Western Canada to understanding who pays for dinner or drinks; from the decoration of gifted money to charity and philanthropy; from economies of care to organ and blood donation; from garage sales to State Diaspora bonds; from expressing gratitude to tipping. I expect that, in our discussions, we will broaden even more the repertoire of social phenomena that involves some form of gift-giving.

Readings (tentative)

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W.W. Norton, 1990 [1923].
  • Jacques Godbout and Alain Caille, The World of The Gift, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.
  • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012.
  • Online readings.

Grading policy (tentative):

Exams: 60%

Short Paper: 25%

Participation/online responses: 15%

SOC 321K • Consumption In Latin America

46152 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 1.106
(also listed as LAS 325)

Consumption is at the same time an economic, political and cultural phenomenon. During the twentieth-century and the beginning of the twenty first, in many parts of the world the promise of extending mass-consumption became a central part of political discourses about the rights and benefits of citizens. In Latin America, the goal of achieving a vibrant internal consumer market was conflated by many with the idea of development, progress, and modernity. Conceptually, consumers have been seen alternatively as the sovereigns of markets, as victims of manipulation, or as a locus of resistance and expression. In this course, we will study the place of consumption in social, economic, and political relations in Latin America. We will read recent literature from various disciplines (sociology, history, anthropology, etc.) on consumer culture in the region, with a special focus on Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil. We will deal with a variety of topics and consumption goods, including consumer policies, popular consumption, advertising, neoliberal consumption, middle class consumer culture, home appliances, jeans and tupperware.

SOC 321K • Economy, Culture, And Society

46155 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 0.112

Description:

This class introduces students to the study of the intersections between economy and culture. Specific Topics may vary by semester.

Gift-giving seems to be at first sight a trivial topic for sociology. Like many other phenomena that happen in our everyday life, gifts appear to vanish into what Erving Goffman once called the ‘dust’ of social life. Yet, the gift is a true mystery that social scientists are still trying to uncover. Why and how do we give and receive gifts? Is a gift an act of pure generosity? Do you think of gifts received before giving one? The latter question brings up a set of more uncomfortable questions: Is a gift a simple act of exchange? What is the difference between a gift and a mercantile exchange? Our answers to the questions above will lead us to explore some of the core issues that sociology has dealt with: social organization and social structure, social norms, the relation between individual and society, the nature of economic and non-economic exchange, reciprocity, obligation, cultural meanings and power, among others. Our answers will have an impact on our ideas of who we are: Are we altruistic and generous? Are we selfish and self-interested? What are the conditions under which generosity and self-interest work or do not work? These questions have also timely political relevance. With the recent expansion of neoliberalism, market arrangements based on rational and self-interested individuals have been posed as an efficient and desirable form of organizing social life in various realms. An exploration of the nature of gift-giving and its workings in current contexts may help us evaluate those neoliberal claims and explore alternative arrangements.

The readings will take us from pre-modern to current societies; from the potlatch in Western Canada to understanding who pays for dinner or drinks; from the decoration of gifted money to charity and philanthropy; from economies of care to organ and blood donation; from garage sales to State Diaspora bonds; from expressing gratitude to tipping. I expect that, in our discussions, we will broaden even more the repertoire of social phenomena that involves some form of gift-giving.

Readings (tentative)

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W.W. Norton, 1990 [1923].
  • Jacques Godbout and Alain Caille, The World of The Gift, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.
  • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the market for human blood and organs, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Coursepack/online readings.

Grading policy (tentative):

Exams (in class/take home): 50%

Paper: 30%

Participation/responses: 20%

Publications


Selected Publications

Books

Fridman, Daniel (2019). El sueño de vivir sin trabajar: una sociología del emprendedorismo, la autoayuda financiera y el nuevo individuo del siglo XXI. Buenos Aires: Siglo Veintiuno Editores.

Fridman, Daniel (2016). Freedom From Work: Embracing Financial Self-Help in the United States and Argentina. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

 

Articles

Fridman, Daniel (2021) “This Is a Handcraft: Valuation, Morality, and the Social Meanings of Payments for Psychoanalysis.” Theory and Society.
 
Fridman, Daniel and Alex Luscombe (2017).Gift-giving, Disreputable Exchange, and the Management of Donations in a Police Department”. Social Forces, 96(2), pp. 507-528.
 
Fridman, Daniel (2018). “¿Cuánto vale la neurosis?: el pago por la terapia en la ciudad de Buenos Aires,” in Wilkis, Ariel (ed.), El poder de (e)valuar. La producción monetaria de jerarquías sociales, morales y estéticas en las sociedades contemporáneas. Buenos Aires and Bogotá: UNSAM Edita/Universidad del Rosario.

Fridman, Daniel (2017). Betting on Other People’s Lives, Public Books, December 13.

Fridman Daniel (2016). "Cashflow: Juego, autoayuda financiera y producción de sujetos económicos", Apuntes de Investigación, Nº28, pp. 69-94.

Fridman, Daniel (2015) “Las contradicciones de la gubernamentalidad neoliberal: reforma financiera, nuevos sujetos económicos y crisis en la última dictadura argentina”, pp. 115-134 in Wilkis, Ariel & Alexandre Roig (eds.), El laberinto de la moneda y las finanzas. La vida social de la economía. Buenos Aires: Biblos.

Fridman, Daniel (2014). “Resisting the lure of the paycheck: Freedom and dependence in financial self-help”. Foucault Studies, No.18, pp. 90-112.

Fridman, Daniel (2010). “From Rats to Riches: Game Playing and the Production of the Capitalist Self”, Qualitative Sociology, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp. 423-446.

Fridman, Daniel (2010). “A New Mentality for a New Economy: Performing the Homo Economicus in Argentina (1976-1983),” Economy and Society, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp. 271-302.

Fridman, Daniel (2008). “La creación de los consumidores en la última dictadura argentina,” Apuntes de Investigación, Nº14, pp. 71-92.

Fridman, Daniel and David Sheinin (2007). “Wild Bulls, Discarded Foreigners, and Brash Champions: U.S. Empire and the Cultural Constructions of Argentine Boxers,” Left History, Vol. 12, Nº1, Spring/Summer, pp. 52-77.

Fridman, Daniel and David Sheinin (2007). “Toros salvajes, extranjeros descartados y campeones insolentes: Estados Unidos y la construcción cultural de los boxeadores argentinos”. Apuntes de Investigación, 13 (2008), pp. 178-205.

Sheinin, David and Daniel Fridman (2006). “The Last Champions: Boxing, Violence, and American Cultural Influences in 1970s Argentina,” Latin American Essays, XIX, pp. 79-96.

 

Other Writing (op eds, blogs, soccer, politics, etc.)

"Economic Sociology in Argentina" (with Ariel Wilkis), Newsletter of the ASA Economic Sociology Section.

How American Financial Self-Help Travels Around the World”, Consume This! (blog of the ASA Section on Consumers and Consumption)

"Price Gouging has its defenders, but they ignore morality", Dallas Morning News.

Trump honed his appeal selling financial success books”, Work in Progress: Sociology on the economy, work and inequality (blog cosponsored by four sections of the ASA)

"Does Being Rich Equate Being Smart?", Dallas Morning News.

"Candidato Rico, Votantes Pobres", La Nación.

"Notion that Wealth is a Reflection of ‘Smarts’ is Wrong", The Austin American-Statesman.

The Trumpman Show,” Revista Anfibia.

Elecciones presidenciales en Estados Unidos: El circo de las primarias,” Revista Anfibia.

El soccer es un deporte estúpido,” Revista Anfibia (with Gabriela Polit Dueñas).


  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    RLP 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086
    512-232-6300