Contemporary Economic Sociology

Course content

The course introduces the theoretical and empirical foundations of contemporary economic sociology, as a way to understand how sociologists engage with the study of complex socioeconomic issues. In the last decades, a vibrant economic sociology has emerged and developed, which has critically analysed both latest capitalist developments and a broad range of economy-related phenomena.


Part I. Introduction to contemporary economic sociology

1.Introduction: why and what a contemporary economic sociology for?

2. Old/new and broad/narrow economic sociology

3. Globalization and capitalism


Part II. Main perspectives and analytical concepts

4. Macro-micro perspectives. Social structure, culture, institutions, embeddedness, social system, state.

5. Micro-macro perspectives. Networks, social capital, identities, conventions, field, sector, social interaction.

6. Performativity of economics and economization


Part III. Main topics and issues

7. Markets

8. Inequality and finance

9. Calculation and value/valuation


Part IV. Current issues in contemporary capitalism


10. Globalizing production: global production/value networks/chains; Multi-National Corporations and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

11. Economy’s financialization (global financial markets) and culturalization (signs, symbols, information, knowledge, digitalization)

12. Comparative capitalisms and crisis: competing models of capitalism, and alternatives to current capitalism.

13. The challenge of the European and Nordic model of welfare capitalism


14. Conclusions and summing-up


MA Theory and Themes course (MSc Curriculum 2015)

Course package (MSc 2015):

- Welfare, inequality and mobility
- Knowledge, organisation and politics

BA-Undergraduates from foreign countries (exchange students) can sign up for this course

Creditstudents must be at master level


Learning outcome

After completion students are expected to be able to:



-master the central concepts and principles of the new economic sociology, its main approaches, and recent developments.


-understand the main differencees between the main approaches of contemporary economic sociology


-reflect critically on the strenghts and weaknesses of the approaches and perspectives covered in the course.




-carry out an original definition essay based on syllabus literature.


-analyse issues and problems related to current capitalism, globalization and crisis.  


-distinguish and evaluate the different analytical strategies to specific phenomena related to contemporary economies.




-select and formulate relevant themes and questions, and identify adequate theories to analyse them.


-design an analytical strategy


-structure a coherent analytical essay on a topic of the course.



The classes will consist of a combination of short lecturing, discussion of texts, group-work and debates, student presentations, working of examples and data, some media/visual documents, and if possible talks by guest lecturers.

Course readings or texts will be available in a compendium and in electronic format in Absalon.

7.5 ECTS: 600 pages

There are no main books. Most of the texts are journal articles and selected book-chapters.

General and reference sources (not obligatory):


-Beckert, Jens and Zafirovski, Milan (eds.) (2006) International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology. London: Routledge.


-“Economic Sociology. The European Electronic Newsletter” at

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Individual or group. A portfolio assignment is defined as a series of short assignments during the course that address one or more set questions and feedback is offered during the course. All of the assignments are submitted together for assessment at the end of the course. The portfolio assignments must be no longer than 10 pages. For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Please see the learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Course Preparation
  • 60
  • Preparation
  • 28
  • Exercises
  • 40
  • Exam
  • 50
  • English
  • 206