S104 3392 Understanding a Local Economy (Peterson-Veatch) (LAMP) (S & H) (3 cr.)


Using Bloomington as a model, students in this seminar will develop an appreciation of things local, and will acquire skills they can use to decipher economies wherever they end up living. Our strategy for fostering appreciation will include field trips to places that exemplify the value of local culture (these will include cemeteries, landmarks, and local museums), musical offerings from the area, and the occasional sampling of local delicacies. We will explore not only businesses, but the roles of non-profit agencies (and the value they create), government, and religious groups in the local economy

The central feature of this class will be a field study project in which students will engage with agencies in the Bloomington community to understand for themselves how those agencies contribute to the economy. While this is not a “service learning” class per se, students will have the opportunity to perform service to the local agencies they are studying. The intent of the project is to have students learn some of the course content outside the classroom in a "hands-on" environment, and give them a chance to serve the community as well.

Ask a local restaurant owner where they get their supplies and you will find that a business you thought of as local depends on people thousands of miles away. Without the contributions of those people to the economy of the world, your local barbeque joint cannot provide you with quality service at a reasonable price. Since the 1980s, anthropologists, sociologists, and economists have begun to think of economies not so much as geographically located entities, but rather more in terms of networks of interdependence. This seminar will provide students with a framework for understanding the concept of economic interdependence that so dominates the conversation about economies today.