Gifts and Debts
This graduate-level special topics course explores some current debates at the intersection of economic sociology and the sociology of culture. The theme of the course is Gifts and Debts. There are no formal prerequisites for students in the department, but the course can be thought of as following on from both Lisa Keister’s Economic Sociology seminar and Steve Vaisey’s Sociology of Culture seminar, both of which were offered last semester. We begin by reading some of the social theory of gift exchange and debt, mostly from sociology and anthropology, and go on to consider recent scholarship on systems of gift exchange in various goods, together with work on consumer credit, credit systems and credit scoring, and inequality.