Regulation, Risk and Economic Life

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Leon Wansleben STC S208 and Prof Bridget Hutter STC S217


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Economy, Risk and Society . This course is available on the MPA in European Policy-Making, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MPhil/PhD in Accounting, MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc in Political Sociology, MSc in Regulation, MSc in Risk and Finance, MSc in Sociology, MSc in Sociology (Research) and Master of Public Administration. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course introduces students to sociological perspectives on economic life and risk regulation in advanced industrial societies. Topics include economic sociology, state risk regulation including regulatory variations, enforcement and business responses, economic and civil society sources of regulation, organizational risk management, science, experts and risk regulation, globalization, and trends in risk regulation. The course will draw upon a broad international literature on social and economic regulation and case studies from the environmental, financial and public health domains.


25 hours of seminars in the MT. 25 hours of seminars in the LT. 5 hours of seminars in the ST.

Reading weeks: week 6 MT and week 6 LT.

Indicative reading

Aspers, P & Dodd, N (eds) (2015) Re-Imagining Economic Sociology (Oxford University Press); Beck, U. (1999) World Risk Society. Cambridge: Polity; Beckert, J (2002) Beyond the Market: the Social Foundations of Economic Efficiency Princeton University Press; Bernstein, P L (1996) Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk (Princeton University Press); Dodd, N (2014) The Social Life of Money (Princeton University Press); Hutter, B.M.. (ed) (2010) Anticipating Risks and Organizing Risk Regulation, Cambridge University Press; Smesler, N. & Swedberg, R. (eds) (2005) The Handbook of Economic Sociology; Swedberg, R. (2003) Principles of Economic Sociology Princeton University Press. 


Exam (70%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Project (30%, 3000 words) in the ST.

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

Attendance at all seminars and submission of all set coursework is required.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 2.4
Merit 81.9
Pass 15.7
Fail 0

Teachers' comment

This course has been running for several years and is co-convened by Prof Hutter and Dr Wansleben. It is the core course on the MSc Economy, Risk and Society programme. The course includes a high level of weekly student participation in workshop-style sessions, including team-based project work. The course is also attached to regular events as organised through the MSc programme, including guest seminars by academics and practitioners and a reading group. It is an intensive sociology course requiring high levels of student participation but it has produced some very high performance levels from students who have actively participated in the workshops each week.

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2016/17: 30

Average class size 2016/17: 30

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 100%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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