Soc120 su17 barlow.pdf - Soc 120 Summer 2017 Email...

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 7 pages.

Soc. 120 Andrew Barlow Summer, 2017 UC Berkeley Office Hours: 466 Barrows before class by appointment Email: [email protected] Sociology 120: Economy and Society This course introduces students to the study of economic relations as social relations. Unlike neo-classical economics, which mainly posits markets and market behavior as a unique and rational type of social interaction, sociology has long argued that economic life is a specialized area of social interactions and culture that is profoundly intertwined with social, cultural and political life more generally. Specifically, market relations are politically, socially and culturally informed and institutionalized, and market activities are shaped and motivated by the exercise of power, social capital and culture by both governmental and non-state actors. The social relationships of markets, and the production and consumption activities that inform them, deeply shape and constrain all social relationships. This course provides students with an introduction to the theories, methods and data to make sense of the deep interplay between economic and non-economic social life. We now live in a global era dominated by neo-liberal policies that promote free trade, free markets, deregulation of economic activity and upwardly re-distributive tax policies in the name of innovation and economic growth. Sociology offers a fundamental critique of the assumptions that lie at the root of neo-liberalism, and indeed shows that the ideological holy grail of neo-liberalism—the free market—is an abstraction that bears little resemblance to real economic behavior. Clarification of the social character of markets is not just an intellectual exercise: neo-liberal ideology, in large part articulated by economists, obscured governments’ ability to anticipate the catastrophic collapse of the world’s financial markets in 2008, and continues to justify efforts to undermine governments’ ability to enact and enforce policies that might prevent the crisis from re- emerging in the future. Neo-liberal ideology has also spurred a wide range of policies that have spurred rapidly growing inequality in most nations, a trend that is undermining social stability in the U.S. and across the globe, most recently in Puerto Rico.
2 The 2008 calamity, like all crises, opened up a growing public debate, this one over neo- liberalism. Since 2008, the world has seen a robust debate about a number of possible futures for market-based societies. A fertile and promising search for new ideas was unleashed in the U.S. by Barack Obama’s election and by the 2010 appearance of the

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture