Department of Sociology

Nino Bariola

M.A., The University of Texas at Austin

Nino Bariola



economic sociology, political sociology, work and organizations, inequality, food, ethnography


Nino Bariola is a Phd student in the Department of Sociology, and a Graduate Fellow of the Urban Ethnography Lab. His research interests include the political and cultural dynamics of markets, institutional emergence, organizational change, and inequality. Nino’s dissertation research is about the emergence and socio-economics of the Peruvian gastronomic boom.



SOC 307G • Culture And Society In The Us

44835 • Spring 2018
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM CLA 0.102


What is this course about?

This course will explore sociological approaches to culture through the stuff of our everyday life. The class will use entertainment media, pop culture, sports, and fine arts to introduce you to some of the central concepts and questions of current sociological scholarship about cultural production and consumption. We will, for example, talk about coffee and coffee shops to discuss theories of taste and social distinction. We will talk about fast- and organic food to touch on issues of class and racial stratification. We will talk about Picasso, Lionel Messi, and The Beatles to elaborate on theories of expertise, talent, and grit. We will talk about tacos and food trucks to discuss globalization, authenticity, and cultural appropriation. We will talk about your high-school and college experiences to examine the notion of cultural capital and its relationship to inequality. We will talk about money to discuss commodification and relational work. And we will talk about Beyoncé to discuss the crucial notion of intersectionality. The class will delve both into “micro” and “macro” perspectives. Ultimately, the class seeks to familiarize and motivate students to develop a sociological imagination (“seeing the strange in the familiar”) pertaining meaning, cultural practices, and creative industries.


By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Summarize, classify, compare and explain some of the main concepts of current debates in the sociology of culture.
  • Implement the concepts and approaches discussed to develop an original analysis of a specific cultural form, practice, or industry.
  • Use these concepts and approaches to reflect on cultural meanings, practices, communities, and industries in which you partake.


3 exams

60% (20% each)

Group project




 Exams. There will be two midterms, and a final. All the exams will be short enough to comfortably finish in 75 minutes. The midterms and final will be of short answer questions based on the lectures and readings. Each exam will require a bluebook. Each exam will count for 20% of your grade. The exams are not cumulative, but rather cover material since the last exam.

 Group project. tudents will work in small groups (3 or 4 people per group) to research, present and write an analysis of a cultural form. We will workshop aspects of these presentations during the semester. Each group will present findings during the last week of class, and deliver a short paper (1200-1800 words). More details are already posted on Canvas and will be discussed on week 2.


For three weeks throughout the semester, you are required to post a public response (200-300 words long; if you decide to include quotations, which are discouraged, do not count them towards the total number of words) on the readings or objects assigned for that week. The earlier in the week the better, but you have time to post until the Tuesday, at 8pm, of the weeks you choose. The discussion is in the Canvas Discussion area. Find the thread for the week you want to post a response for and post your comment as a reply. The distribution of your responses must be as follows:1 response in February (before the first exam), 1 response in March (after the first midterm and before the first exam), 1 response in April (after the second midterm and before final).Other than this distribution, you are free to choose for which weeks you want to post your responses. Your responses may be shared in class, and we will use them to start discussions, so take advantage of your response to shape and prepare for class discussion. You are encouraged to engage with each other’s comments. Late responses will not be counted. If the quality of your response is inadequate, I will let you know so that you can correct that in your next responses.

 Attendance, participation and reading.

Regular attendance at all class meetings is strongly encouraged, but not (directly) enforced. It is essential that you come prepared to class and that you read carefully, take notes and bring ideas and questions to contribute to and benefit from lecture and discussions. Classes are organized under the assumption that you read the texts once before class (which does not mean that you have to fully understand the texts, but rather that you read the whole text and came up with a few ideas, several doubts, and many questions –and that you voice them!). Don’t be shy about asking questions and providing comments in class. Remember that other students will probably benefit from your questions/comments and the clarifications and reflections they may lead to. Most important, your questions, comments, and examples will make the class more interesting for everyone. You will soon realize that reading, re-reading, and coming to class will all be necessary to succeed in this course. If you cannot attend a session for whatever reason, you will be missing something important. It is your responsibility to catch up. Ask another student for notes and news from the class you missed.

Grading policy.

Total grades (yes, I know I am repeating myself, but regardless I am sure you will ask questions about this once and again) are 20% for each of the three exams (60% in total), 25% for the group project, and 15% for the memos and participation. At the end of a course, total percentages will be converted to letter grades as shown in the table below.







Exceptional, outstanding and excellent performance. Usually achieved by a minority of students. These grades indicate a student who is self-initiating, exceeds expectation and has an insightful grasp of the subject matter.





Very good, good and solid performance. These grades indicate a good grasp of the subject matter or excellent grasp in one area balanced with satisfactory grasp in the other area.







Satisfactory, or minimally satisfactory. These grades indicate a satisfactory performance and knowledge of the subject matter.







Marginal Performance. A student receiving this grade demonstrated a superficial grasp of the subject matter.







Under 60


Unsatisfactory performance.

Rounding will be as follows: 79.5 = 80 (B-), but 79.4 = 79 (C+). In other words, when rounding is performed, nn.5 is always rounded UP.

 Readings and other materials

All readings will be available online via Canvas. It is possible there may be a text book as well. We will also use movies, documentaries and podcasts as materials in and outside of class. All of these are available for free in the Internet or through UT libraries.


Profile Pages

  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    CLA 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086