The course is an introduction to economic sociology. As a subfield that has grown extraordinarily over the past thirty years, economic sociology has proposed a sociological investigation of economic phenomena. It first seeks to critique the analytical assumptions and epistemology commonly shared within mainstream economics. But it also offers sociologically grounded of economic phenomena. It ultimately searches to formulate alternative accounts of economic behavior and economic processes. Economic sociology therefore claims that rational action hypothesis does not offer accurately represent individual economic actions, not more than perfect competition provides an understanding of concrete market mechanisms.

This course will provide an overview of the broad concerns and approaches in economic sociology, and review the sociological explanations of economic activities. Its organization . A first sequence will be devoted to two basic economic phenomena: exchange and market. It will question markets as naturally “emerging” mechanisms, by shedding light on non-market types of exchange (such as gifts) and on market-building processes. A second sequence will be devoted to four categories of economic actors: States, firms, consumers, and economists.

Students are expected to attend each meeting, and participate actively in class. The final paper will constitute 80% of the grade. Participation in class discussions will add up to the remaining 20% of the grade.