SO470      Half Unit
The Sociology of Markets

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr David Pinzur STC.S217a


This course is available on the MRes/PhD in Management (Organisational Behaviour), MSc in Economy and Society, MSc in Political Sociology and MSc in Sociology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). Places will be allocated based on a written statement. Priority will be given to students on the MRes/PhD in Management (Organisational Behaviour), MSc in Economy and Society, MSc in Political Sociology and MSc in Sociology. This may mean that not all students who apply will be able to get a place on this course.

Course content

This course studies the cultural, social, and technological elements underlying and influencing market behaviour. We will touch upon several key topics, including the production of calculability, valuation and pricing, measurement, classification, application of economic theory, and expectation-setting. Our concern throughout the course will be first, to identify the distinct challenges facing market action, and second, to reveal how these challenges are met, the relation of solutions to existing power structures, and the consequences, both inside and outside the market, that result. By the end of the course, students will have developed a distinctly sociological understanding of economic markets, and applied this perspective to an original case study.


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

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

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.


Case analysis (100%) in the LT.

The course is assessed by a 5000 word case analysis due in LT week 2. Assessment will consist of a report on ONE case study.

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

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

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 28

Average class size 2020/21: 14

Controlled access 2020/21: 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