Sociology | ADV TPCS: Social Organization: VT: Consumers, Corporations, & Capitalism
S410 | 8908 | Bartley

1:00PM-2:15PM	MW	BH 321

Above Class open to Majors Only

Can consumer decisions make a difference in terms of promoting
global justice or protecting the environment?  What do Fair Trade
labels on coffee really mean?  Are concepts like "corporate social
responsibility" and "political consumerism" oxymorons or meaningful
trends?  Is Wal-Mart a good or bad thing for consumers, workers, and
citizens in the U.S., China, and elsewhere?  How do the global
supply chains that generate our clothes, food, cellphones, and iPods
really work?  Who are the people that make these products, and what
are their social worlds like?  Why are companies adopting voluntary
labor and environmental standards for their international
operations, and what difference does it make?  Can human rights and
environmental movements successfully "name and shame" corporations
into acting responsibly?

These are a few of the questions that will be addressed in this
seminar.  We will focus on developing a sociological perspective on
markets and the political dynamics that surround them, with a
particular focus on recent changes in the governance of capitalism
(e.g., new forms of regulation, global governance, "corporate social
responsibility") and the linkages between local decisions and global

During the last part of the semester, students will conduct some
original research and write a final paper.  For this reason, the
course is especially appropriate for those who have completed at
least some coursework in either research methods or statistics, and
who are looking for opportunities to apply those skills.