Economic Sociology

Course content

The course in Economic sociology focuses on sociological theory and social stratification. Economic sociology offers an elaborate view on the societal mechanisms behind social stratification both in relation to the structure of society and issues in relation to individual background and behavior. Societal institutions as well as social background and behavior of the individual within the institutions are important features in the understanding of social stratification.


You get an insight into the core parts of economic sociology that gives a perspective on social structure and behavior and knowledge of the explanations most relevant for the understanding of social stratification.  This goes for individual behavior, behavior of individuals as part of a group including the role of the family as well as firm behavior.


Economic sociology increases your ability to reflect critically on the core mechanisms and institutions behind social stratification, and it increases your knowledge and perspective on social structure, individual and group behavior in relation to social stratification.


The theoretical part is divided into a classical period and a contemporary one.


The classical period was concerned particularly with modernity and its constituent aspects, which are rationalization, secularization, urbanization and the role in relation to social stratification. 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. Karl Marx’ theories on the structures of the capitalist society are also important in the understanding of social stratification also in societies today.


Contemporary economic sociology includes studies of diversification through different forms of capital (social and cultural) by Bourdieu, the role of modernization and globalization by Giddens. Bech and Baumann, and the role of communication by Habermas.


The economic sociological studies of the market – core in economic theory – is also important in the study of stratification.


The course 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. This is in order to better understand the content of contemporary economic sociological theories by Bourdieu, Giddens, Baumann Bech and Habermas – all with an emphasis to increase the understanding of the mechanisms behind social stratification.


The social stratification part of the course is based on original work on the role and understanding of class and gender in relation to the structure and consequences of stratification. There will be a focus on methods to measure stratification as well as actual structures in the market including the labor market, in the systems like the educational system and/or the health care system. This part of the course is extended with issues of stratification that are in the forefront of discussions of stratification in contemporary society. Students should make suggestions on this part of the course.


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.


From spring 2023 the course is also offered to students at the

- Master Programmes in Political Science

- Bachelor and Master Programmes in Sociology

- Bachelor and Master Programmes in Anthropology

- Master Programme in Global Development

- Master Programme in Social Data Science

Enrolled students register the course through the Selfservice. Please contact the study administration at each programme for questions regarding registration.

Learning outcome

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



  • The student will get knowledge on the contribution to economic sociology from sociological classics, the development of contemporary economic sociology since the mid 1980s and how this contributes to the understanding of social stratification.



  • Give a precise explanation of one or more economic sociological approaches on social stratification



  • critical discus the economic sociological theories relevance in relation to the understanding and explanation of social stratification in general and in different areas like the market, the labor market or the educational system.


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

Changes to teaching methods due to a pandemic crisis:
The teaching in this course might be changed to either fully or partly online due to a pandemic crisis. If changes are implemented please read the study messages at KUnet or the announcements in the virtual course room on Absalon (for enrolled students).

  • Patrik Aspers (2011): Markets, Polity Press, Chapters 1-8

  • David B. Grusky: Social Stratification, class, race and gender, Westview Press, 20 selected chapters

  • Georg Ritzer & Jeffry Stepnisky (2021): Sociological Theory, Sage, 11 edition

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.
The room is booked 2x2 hours every week. Not all will be used, but are booked for the lecturer to be flexible in teaching. The exact schedule will be announce in Absalon.

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-F23; [Name of course]”
-Select Report Type: “List – Weekdays”
-Select Period: “Forår/Spring”
Press: “ View Timetable”

Please be aware:
- The schedule of the lectures can change without the participants´ acceptance. If this occure, you can see the new schedule in your personal timetable at KUnet, in the app myUCPH and through the links in the right side of this course description and the link above.
- It is the students´s own responsibility continuously throughout the study to stay informed about their study, their teaching, their schedule, their exams etc. through the curriculum of the study programme, the study pages at KUnet, student messages, the course description, the Digital Exam portal, Absalon, the personal schema at KUnet and myUCPH app etc.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 24 hours
Type of assessment details
Individuel take-home assignment.

Please be aware:
• 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.

Information about allowed aids for the re-examination, please go to the section "Re-exam".

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
for the written exam.
An oral re-examination may be with external assessment.
Criteria for exam assessment

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


In order to obtain the top grade “12”, 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. Including for this course:

•  Precise knowlegde of one or more economic sociological approaches on a given subject or societal problem

•  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.


In order to obtain the passing grade “02”, the student must in a satisfactory way be able to demonstrate a minimal acceptable level of  the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.

Single subject courses (day)

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


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

- Go to 'Signup' for information about registration and enrollment.

Information about admission and tuition fee: Master and Exchange Programme, credit students and guest students (Open University)

and venue:
- For teaching: Go to 'Remarks'.
- For exam and re-sits: Go to 'Exam'.
Department of Economics, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Economics
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Political Science
  • Social Data Science
  • Department of Sociology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Niels Ploug   (18-7c77737a813c78837a776f7c3c7e7a7d83754e73717d7c3c79833c7279)

See ‘Course Coordinators’

Please read "Remarks" regarding the schedule of the teaching

Saved on the 04-11-2022

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students