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Sociology of Markets

Code: S9525, ECTS: 2


This course is an introduction to the sociology of markets. It discusses a number of concepts and tools developed within the sociological and anthropological traditions for the study of economic exchange. The approaches presented throughout the course emphasize three aspects. The first is the empirical diversity of markets. Rather than considering "the market" as a single, abstract principle, the course highlights the various ways in which economic exchange can be organized. The second is the constructed character of markets. Markets are artifacts and, as such, can be constructed and transformed in several ways. The third is their materiality. Markets are complex arrangements in which technical devices play a crucial role.

The course presents a heterogeneous set of theoretical references and empirical studies. The aim of the course is to enrich the social-scientific culture of engineering students, to promote sociological thinking among them, and to provide them with conceptual tools that will help them to tackle concrete aspects of the construction of markets that they may encounter in their professional endeavors.


The course is divided into three parts:

  • The first part is devoted to the anthropology of the gift. It deals with a series of classical studies that analyze the conditions in which the transfer of a thing from one person to another cancels or, on the contrary, promotes mutual obligations.
  • The second part explores the question of social networks. Several studies are presented that show the extent to which the emergence and dynamics of markets depend on the existence of interpersonal networks.
  • The third part tackles the topic of market technologies. Students are introduced to a set of works in science and technology studies that explore the importance of material devices in economic calculative practices.

Evaluation means

The evaluation of students is performed on the basis of three elements: a written examination, a presentation of readings, and a case study.

Teaching team


Teaching staff

Code S9525
Year 3rd year
Level Graduate 2nd year
ECTS Credits 2
Coefficient 2
Nb. of hours 26
Nb. of lessons 21
Course type Specialized courses
Semester 5
Period Autumn
  • Sciences économiques et sociales
Last update:
01 Apr 2015 16:28 by Franck