Economic Sociology

Course content

Economic sociology gives you a new perspective on economic behavior and knowledge of the sociological theories most relevant for the understanding of economic behavior. This goes for individual economic behavior, behavior of individuals as part of a group with common interests as well as firm behavior.


Economic sociology increases your ability to reflect critically on the core mechanisms and institutions influencing economic behavior and your ability to challenge conventional thoughts in economic theory.


Economic sociology increases your perspective on social theory and on the society and interlinks theoretical reasoning with real life economic phenomenons.


The field can be broadly divided into a classical period and a contemporary one.


The classical period was concerned particularly with modernity and its constituent aspects which are rationalisation, secularisation, urbanisation, social stratification, and so on. The specific term "economic sociology" was first coined by William Stanley Jevons in 1879, later to be used in the works of Émile Durkheim, Max Weber and Georg Simmel between 1890 and 1920. Weber's work regarding the relationship between economics and religion and the cultural "disenchantment" of the modern West is perhaps most iconic of the approach set forth in the classic period of economic sociology.


Contemporary economic sociology includes studies of all modern social aspects of economic phenomena; economic sociology is thus a field in the intersection of economics and sociology. Frequent areas of inquiry in contemporary economic sociology include the social consequences of economic exchanges, the social meanings they involve and the social interactions they facilitate or obstruct.


The economic sociological studies of markets are crucial in the study of exchange.


The Course gives the student thorough knowledge of the classical economic sociological analysis on the development of the modern society.


It gives an introduction to classical economic sociology with an emphasis on Weber, Marx, Durkheim and Simmel in order for the student to be familiar with classical theories in order better to understand contemporary economic sociological theories by Bourdieu, Giddens and Habermas.


The main part of the course is on contemporary economic sociology. 


MSc programme in Economics – elective course

Bacheloruddannelsen i økonomi – valgfag fra 2. år

The Danish BSc programme in Economics - elective from the 2nd year

Tilvalgsuddannelsen i Erhvervsøkonomi - Valgfag på kandidatdelen.

Learning outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:



  • The student gets knowledge of the contents and developments of economic sociology since Granovetters reintroduction of the concept of embeddedness in the mid 1980s and the development of economic sociology with contributions from among others Gary Becker and Bourdieu.
  • The course contains texts that contribute to the understanding of markets, the role of the state and the impact of social structures in relation to how modern society works and how it should be studied. Knowledge on economic sociology, sociological theory and economic sociology analysis on societal developments gives the student a comprehensive knowledge of the manifold and creative economic sociological analysis of modern society and the societal frames and background for individual action.
  • This gives the student knowledge in ways of analysing modern society and individual actions that in many ways challenges economic theory.



  • The student get’s skills that will enable him/her to asses societal developments in general and specific political interventions in relation to their potential outcome taking the core argument of embeddedness from economic sociology into consideration.



  • The student get competencies that makes it possible for him/her to have a critical view on conventional economic theory and and question in an organised way recommendations that are based on neoclasic economic theory. 


Teaching will be lectures based on active participation from students based on lectures notes and discussion themes distributed to the students in advance.

In case of a pandemic like Corona the teaching in this course may be changed to be taught either fully or partly online. For further information, see the course room on Absalon.

George Ritzer & Jeffrey Stepnisky: Sociological Theory, 9th edition, McGrawHill, 2014 ISBN 978-0-07-802701-7

Mark Granovetter & Richard Swedberg (ed): The Sociology of Economic Life, 3rd edition, Westview Press, 2011 ISBN 978-0-8133-4455-3

Patrik Aspers: Markets, Polity Press, 2011 ISBN 978-0-7456-4577-3

Alejandro Portes: Economic Sociology, Princeton University Press, 2010.

Students must have a basic knowledge of economic theory including knowledge of the basic assumptions on human behaviour in neoclassic economics. A good knowledge of economic history and the major developments of the capitalist economy from the industrial revolution and forward is an advantage.

2 hours lectures 1 to 2 times a week from week 6 to 20 (except holidays).

The overall schema for the Master courses can be seen at KUnet:
MSc in Economics => "Courses and teaching" => "Planning and overview" => "Your timetable"
KA i Økonomi => "Kurser og undervisning" => "Planlægning og overblik" => "Dit skema"

Timetable and venue:
To see the time and location of lectures please press the link/links under "Timetable"/​"Se skema" at the right side of this page (F means Spring).

You can find the similar information in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-F21; [Name of course]”
-Select Report Type: “List – Weekdays”
-Select Period: “Forår/Spring – Week 5-30”
Press: “ View Timetable”

Please be aware:
- That it is the students´s own responsibility to continuously update themselves about their studies, their teaching, their schedule, their exams etc. through the study pages, the course description, the Digital Exam portal, Absalon, KUnet, myUCPH app, the curriculum etc.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 24 hours
individuel take-home assignment. The students are allowed to talk together about the given problem-set but must work on, write and upload the assignment answer individually. The plagiarism rules must be complied. The exam assignment is given in English and must be answered in English.
All aids allowed

for the written exam.


In case of an oral reexam, please go to the section "Reexam" for further information about allowed aids.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
for the written exam.
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the course.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.


Precise knowlegde of one or more economic sociological approaches on a given subject or societal problem and skills to discuss critically the economic sociological theories relevance in relation to the subject/problem and to judge in cases where more theories are included a statement on whether and how these are complementary or in competition. Competences to relate the discussion of subject/problem to contemporary issues in society today.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 140
  • Exam
  • 24
  • English
  • 206