SO470      Half Unit
The Sociology of Markets

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Leon Wansleben STC S208


This course is available on the MSc in Economy, Risk and Society , MSc in Political Sociology, MSc in Sociology, MSc in Sociology (Economic Sociology and MSc in Sociology (Research). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course offers an introduction to the sociology of markets. We will look at this topic from two different sides: On the one hand, we will explore different theoretical issues in economic sociology, such as market structure, valuation, and the role of the state. Here, the underlying question is what sociology can contribute to a theoretical understanding of markets. On the other hand, we will explore particular case studies, such as illegal markets or markets for fine art; students will get the chance to study one of these cases in-depth. By the end of the course, students will be versed in the sociological and larger debates about markets, and they will be equipped to contribute to this debate with small, innovative case studies.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

Reading week: week 6.

Formative coursework

A 1500 word essay is required.

Indicative reading

Recommended texts: Callon, Michel. 1998. The laws of the markets. Blackwell Publishers: Oxford; Fligstein, Neil. 2001. The Architecture of Markets. An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First-Century Capitalist Societies. Princeton, NJ a.o.: Princeton University Press; Granovetter, Mark. 1995[1974]. Getting a Job: a Study of Contacts and Careers. Chicago; London: Chicago University Press; Krippner, Greta R. 2002. "The elusive market: Embeddedness and the paradigm of economic sociology." Theory and Society 30:775-810; Swedberg, Richard. 2003. Principles of Economic Sociology. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Assessment will consist of an essay analysis of two case studies along with the submission of a portfolio (100%).

Two hard copies of the assessed essay, with submission sheets attached to each, to be handed in to the Administration Office, S116, no later than 16:30 on the second Wednesday of Summer Term. An additional copy to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 18:00 on the same day.

Attendance at all workshop sessions and submission of all set coursework is required.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 13.8
Merit 53.8
Pass 26.2
Fail 6.2

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2015/16: 13

Average class size 2015/16: 13

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills