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“Organizations, Markets, & the State” course at the Graduate Center, CUNY, offered for this spring 2020

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Are you a graduate student in the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium?*  If so, please consider taking my “Organizations, Markets, & the State” class at the Graduate Center, CUNY.   At student request, I am teaching this class on the sociology of organizations this spring 2020 on Wednesdays @11:45am-2:45pm. Our first class meets on Wed., Jan. 29, 2020.

 

In addition to covering the classics of organizational research, the course includes cutting edge organizational research.  The course also incorporates topics and assigned readings based on enrolled students’ interests.  When I’ve taught this class in past semesters, guest speakers, including Nicole P. Marwell, Jeff Sallaz, Michel Anteby, Caroline W. Lee, Frederick Wherry, Pilar Opazo, and Elizabeth Popp Berman, have discussed their research projects.  (And, Fabio Rojas joined us for a special get-together during a visit to NYC!)

One of the aims of the class, besides learning substantive content, is to develop a local community of emerging scholars whose relationships spanning local, US, and international boundaries.  So, if you are an organizations researcher who is located or will happen to be in the NYC area during spring 2020, please email me about presenting your research!  We’ve also learned about professional development with guests, as participants are eager to learn about different kinds of institutions and career paths.

 

Here is the spring 2020 course description:

Organizations, Markets, & the State, Spring 2020

Graduate Center

Prof. Katherine K. Chen

Course Description

How can people coordinate action across growing groups in creative versus conventional ways?

How can people organize in ways that widen versus reduce power differentials among members?

How do people and organizations hoard advantages for a select few versus ensuring more equal access to all?

How do organizations fend off versus embrace market ideology, and how do organizations encourage members to adopt these perspectives?

Organizations are crucial actors in contemporary society, and they are also sites where many of us expend significant efforts connecting with or coordinating collective action.  Despite their central role in shaping our experiences from education to the workplace to governance, organizations are often overlooked or taken-for-granted among researchers and laypersons.  When researchers do study organizations, they typically pay little critical attention to power dynamics and organizing possibilities.

Building upon more critical perspectives, participants will learn why organizations form, how they develop, and how they can exacerbate or alleviate inequalities.  We will also discuss organizations’ relations with the state and markets, and how these relations affect action.  We will cover a variety of organizational forms, from conventional bureaucracies to networked firms to democratic organizations, with a focus on participants’ organizational fields of interest.  Theories studied incorporate the classics, as well as cutting edge synthetic work like Strategic Action Fields (SAFs), racialized organizations, and relational inequality theory (RIT)’s inequality-generating mechanisms.   Methodological approaches covered include ethnography, interviews, and other qualitative methods, and quantitative analyses.

This course supports deepening participants’ substantive knowledge, including preparing for comprehensives, extending cross-over expertise in a substantive area (i.e. social movements, urban sociology, stratification, education, cultural sociology, etc.), and designing and carrying out research.  In addition, this course aims to both promote professional development and forming a community of supportive scholars for emerging research.

*If you are a student at one of the below schools, you may be eligible, after filing  paperwork by the GC and your institution’s deadlines, to take classes within the Consortium:

Columbia University, GSAS
Princeton University – The Graduate School
CUNY Graduate Center
Rutgers University
Fordham University, GSAS
Stony Brook University
Graduate Faculty, New School University
Teachers College, Columbia University
New York University, GSAS, Steinhardt

Written by katherinechen

November 14, 2019 at 11:21 am

jordan (buckethead)

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
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Written by fabiorojas

November 10, 2019 at 12:04 am

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new contexts special issue: the global south

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It is my pleasure to announce a new special issue for Contexts – ethnographies of the global south. From the Contexts website:

In recent years, there has been a blossoming of ethnographies on the Global South within sociology; this represents something new. Historically, American ethnographers within the discipline have plied their trade almost exclusively within the U.S. context. Casting our eye south has produced a vivid description of “foreign” social worlds.

These descriptions have proven to be a goldmine theoretically. They challenge and compel us to revise many of the analytical categories we largely take for granted, from race and segregation, to state and civil society. In making “foreign” contexts familiar, the new ethnographies of the Global South are expanding our sociological imagination in exciting ways.

We are looking for papers that embody a deeper engagement with Southern contexts. We are seeking robust descriptions of everyday life rooted in these contexts. The papers should demonstrate how detailed descriptions serve to extend not only just the empirical but also the conceptual boundaries of sociology.

Check it out and submit!

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BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!

Written by fabiorojas

November 7, 2019 at 7:57 pm

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remembering sociologist ed shils

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edward-shils-43e439e5-9a80-483e-9dd0-6f84ec35c69-resize-750

Commentary Magazine has a nice tribute to the late Ed Shils:

I miss my friend Edward Shils, as I miss many other now dead friends. But these others are dead for me in a way that Edward isn’t quite. He seems never to have left me, and I can write about him today in a way I couldn’t when he died—being enabled, by the passage of time, in the phrase of the House Un-American Activities Committee, to “name names” in a way that wasn’t possible then.

and

Read the whole thing.

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BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!

Written by fabiorojas

November 6, 2019 at 4:41 pm

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could sociology ever canonize a non-progressive intellectual?

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Not a good look…

I’ve now taught social theory at the undergraduate level for over a decade, and I am now teaching social theory at the graduate level. I am also conversant, but no means an expert, in the history of what is considered canonical social theory. Here is an observation. While non-progressives do actually have fabulous careers in sociology (e.g., Robert Nisbet), their work tends not to “stick.” It doesn’t get remembered or canonized and seems to fade rather quickly.

For example, you might think some of the major figures of late 19th century laissez-faire, such as Herbert Spencer or William Graham Sumner, might be candidates for sociology’s “hall of fame.” Spencer’s evolutionary theory certainly feeds into Durkehim and Sumner was president of the American Sociological Association. Later, you might pick up on someone like Robert Nisbet whose book, The Quest for Community, is considered a touchstone for mid 20th century social thought. Yet, these figures are ignored and forgotten within the sociological profession.

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Written by fabiorojas

November 4, 2019 at 3:43 pm

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katy perry, reharmonized (jc, 1959)

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This is “Roar,” but “reharmonized” using Coltrane’s Giant Steps chord progression. Interesting.

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BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!

Written by fabiorojas

November 3, 2019 at 12:00 am

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mormons, the kibbutz, and egalitarianism in a voluntary society

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When I debated Amy Wax a few years back, I noted that one issue with conservative demands to return to a different family regime is that most people don’t want to do it. I noted that in American society, you can definitely join a group with strong norms against pre-marital sex and strong against divorce. It’s called the Church of Later Day Saints – the Mormons. Even though people are free to join this religion, it remains small. According to this Pew report, it’s only 1.7% of the population. And it’s no mystery – the LDS requires a lot of investment in terms of time and money.

I was reminded of the left wing version of this point: socialists will often argue that kibbutz, or communally organized farms and residences in Israel, show that an egalitarian society is possible and it works. My response is similar: there is definitely an audience for a voluntary communal society and family system, but it’s small and comes with a cost that many people aren’t willing to pay.

Ran Abramitzky, an Israeli economist, did an interview with Russ Roberts where he discusses his book on kibbutzim. The bottom line is that a kibbutz does work, but it has the following properties:

  • it is small, usually a few hundred individuals
  • it is ethnically heterogeneous
  • people have a high degree of ideological commitment
  • there is a lot of screening, to ensure fit and prevent free riding.
  • there are many social norms where people are punished for not contributing

Like the LDS, the kibbutzim “works.” It’s real, it’s (relatively) stable, and it provides both cultural stability and economic security. Abramatzky notes that at the height of their popularity, kibbutzim only accounted for 7% of the Israeli Jewish population. Furthermore, there has been a modification of the system in some ways. For example, communal child raising has been scaled back and there are examples or cases unequal levels of wealth.

The LDS and the kibbutzim show me a few things about communalism in a free society. The first is that yes, it’s possible and that it works. The second is that it’s definitely a niche product. Both the LDS and the kibbutzim provide social insurance and other very important things, but most people are not willing to pay the price. Third, these groups suggest that hard core economic egalitarianism and social insurance requires cultural and ideological commitment. Bottom line: Communism is for the few, not the many.

++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!

Written by fabiorojas

October 31, 2019 at 12:04 am

Posted in uncategorized