Economic Sociology

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr David Pinzur and Dr Rebecca Elliott


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Economy and Society. This course is available on the 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.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). Students who have this course as a core course are guaranteed a place. Other than for students for whom the course is a core course, places are allocated based on a written statement. Priority will be given to students on the 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

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; economy and environment; morals and markets; racialized economic orders; finance; credit and debt; inequality.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, online materials and seminars totalling a minimum of 50 hours across AT and WT.

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

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.


Essay (30%, 3000 words) in the WT.
Essay (70%, 4000 words) in the ST.

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

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2023/24: Unavailable

Average class size 2023/24: Unavailable

Controlled access 2023/24: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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