SO430      Half Unit
Economic Sociology

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Rebecca Elliott STC 211


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

Course content

Are we really rational utility-maximisers? What is ‘the economy’ and what is its relationship to society? How does economic life reflect and enact moral categories? How can we understand the production of economic ‘winners’ and ‘losers’? This course offers a general introduction to the theoretical foundations of economic sociology, providing an opportunity to engage questions like these through both sociologically grounded accounts of economic phenomena and sociological critiques of the analytical assumptions and research procedures common in mainstream economics.

Topics covered in the course include: critical approaches to economy and society; economic rationality; the sociology of economics; morals and markets; valuation and worth; sociology of consumption; credit and debt; class and inequality.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, online materials and seminars totalling a minimum of 20 hours in the LT.

Reading Weeks: Students on this course will have a reading week in LT Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

A project overview due in week 7 of LT. Individual feedback sessions in office hours provided to check student project development.

Indicative reading

Recommended general texts: M Granovetter & R Swedberg (Eds), The Sociology of Economic Life; D Slater & F Tonkiss, Market Society: Markets and Modern Social Theory; N Smelser & R Swedberg (Eds), The Handbook of Economic Sociology; V Nee & R Swedberg (Eds), The Economic Sociology of Capitalism. A detailed reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course.


Project (100%, 4000 words) in the ST.

An electronic copy of the assessed essay, to be uploaded to Moodle, no later than 4.00pm on the second Wednesday of Summer Term. 

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

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2019/20: 23

Average class size 2019/20: 23

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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