Peace or War (SC092)
This course seeks to give students a new persepective on American society, as well as on an international system unable to maintain itself without collapse into violence. Many of the great social and political theorists have been concerned with the causes of war and violence as part of a more general approach to understanding society. Sociological theory has been concerned with the state as the institution officially endowed with the monopoly of violence in society, as well as with the critical issues in the organization of civil society that are connected with the theme of war and violence: inequality and stratification, power and authority, ideology and community. We shall also be centrally concerned with the organization of the international social structure and economy, and the ways in which relations between advanced and developing countries can become locked into an institutionalized system of violence.
Global stocket markets plummet and nations all over the world ride an economic roller coaster. Americans are waking up to a new reality. The economic boom seems almost an illusion, and the prospects for global economic prosperity and social health are fading, whether in Russia, Japan, Latin America or the US itself. This course examines the relation between America's economy, the world economy, and our social and moral problems as a nation. Our emerging economic system, built around a small number of huge multinational corporations, is closely linked to the development of a domestic and global social crisis involving violence, poverty and the breakdown of community. This course analyzes the roots of these problems in our "free market" capitalism, with a focus on global corporations and their power. It looks at whatís wrong with the current way of thinking about economic problems and suggests a new socially oriented approach that can solve our social problems while increasing the health of American business.
Introduction to Social Economy (SC736)
This course is an introductory graduate course to the fields of social economy and social justice. It is tailored to the interests of students in our Social Economy and Social Justice program and offers literacy in the broad area of political economy that is essential to all students interested in critical sociology. It does not presuppose prior training in political economy.
The focus of the course will be on the transnational corporation as a hegemonic political and social entity within the larger context of contemporary global capitalism. We live in a new condition of corporate sovereignty. The course examines how corporate power and ideology pervade all dimensions of social life, and how market forces and values are eroding democracy, equality, and community in America and throughout the world. The course looks at the rise of the working poor and the intractably poor as a fixture of American life (and much of the developing world), as well as the erosion of the social contract creating economic security for much of the "middle class." In addition to a major focus on class, the course also examines how gender and race relations are being recast within the current corporate order. The concluding focus is on economic alternatives and on social movements that are arising to challenge corporate sovereignty.
Constitutional Moments (SC754)
In certain moments of history, we experience revolutionary openings. In these periods, fundmamental shifts in national or global constitutional arrangements— in the economy and the polity—take place. These are pivotal moments, in which the fundamental character of our reigning capitalist order is transformed. In these eras, which redefine the fundamental social and legal contract of capitalism, the basic economic and human rights related to class, gender and race are established (or abolished), and democracy is either renewed or eroded. Tensions between property and human rights, between democracy and autocracy, between dominant groups and females and minorities, are constested and tentatively resolved in class, gender and race struggles.
This course has two main goals. The first is to introduce graduate students to historical sociology—a must for all sociologists. We shall re-examine US history with a fresh eye, to understand what history can teach us about the growing consolidation of a global corporate capitalist order, dominated by increasingly sovereign global corporate entities. Each constitutional moment involves a step in the growth of the power of property and corporate sovereignty, but each involves new prospects for social change and social movements related to class, race, gender—and democracy.
American Corporation (AD77501)
The vast power of rising global corporate empires - from Citicorp to General Electric to Microsoft—poses new threats to American democracy and the wellbeing of all citizens. While American corporations are trumpeted as a model of efficiency for the whole world, their vast size, singleminded profit seeking, and lack of public acountability create problems of corporate sovereignty similar to those a hundred years ago during the age of the Robber Barons. While the economy as a whole grows rapidly and dramatic technological change revolutionizes our lives, the poor multiply, wages stagnate, corporate profit and power grow, and job security is vanishing. Big business increasingly sets the agenda for both political parties. We worship money as our highest value.
This advancing studies course offers students literacy in political economy, the theory of the corporation, the practice of business, and the making of social change. It provides a new perspective on current affairs and American society, and should help students interpret the news about the economy and American social problems in a more critical and informed way. It does not require prior background in political economy or economics, and uses texts that are written for the general reader.