Examination of current substantive topics in macrosociology. Content varies according to recent developments in the field and the interests of the instructor.
Norms and Institutions: Origins, Change and Effects Course at the University of Washington, Seattle, Department of Sociology, Spring 2009 Monday, 3:30 pm to 5:20 pm, CDH 145, Soc589A
This course provides a critical introduction to and discussion of the major theories in the social sciences about norms and institutions. The questions we will be focusing on are: When do norms and institutions come into being? If norms and institutions exist: (a) when do they change or remain stable, and (b) what – intended and unintended – effects do they have? These effects may refer to the behavior or other properties (like preferences and beliefs) of individual actors or to the likelihood that other norms, institutions, organizations etc. change or emerge. For each session, one or two students should lead the discussion (nonetheless, I will prepare questions as well). The student or students should (1) begin with a brief overview (maximum 10 minutes) of the required readings, (2) prepare questions (based on the questions listed for each theme below) to be discussed in class, (3) explore the "additional readings" if the "required readings" do not suffice to generate enough questions (note that the additional readings are ordered according to the importance for the respective theme), and (4) lead the discussion. (5) I recommend that the discussion leaders meet with me at least one day before class to go through the questions, but this is only a recommendation. Regular attendance (and participation in the discussion) and a paper, to be turned in by the end of May, 2009, are – in addition to being discussion leader in a session – other requirements for a grade. You may choose any theme that is related to norms or institutions. Examples for themes are listed below (section III). You should prepare a one-page outline of your theme and talk to me by the end of April, 2009. It goes without saying that each participant has read the "required readings" that are listed below for each topic and comes to class with some critical questions that can be discussed, in addition to those prepared by the discussion leader or leaders. I would also ask you to bring the printouts of the required readings to class so that they can be discussed in detail.
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Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading