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The Sociology of Development and Global Capitalism

Опубликовано на портале: 19-12-2009
Факультет: Department of Sociology and The Jackson School of International Studies
Язык: Английский
Тематические разделы: Социология, Экономическая социология, Экономическая социология: Модели социально-экономического развития

This graduate-level course covers an area that is conventionally known as the sociology of development. This course, however, differs from a traditional course in development in that I am attempting here to synthesize a number of different literatures into an integrated perspective that focuses on local economies in an age of global capitalism. I describe these literatures below. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the founders of social science were deeply involved in analyzing the social, political, and economic changes that they observed in their own societies. Most theoretical perspectives about transformative changes, which include economic growth and transformation, date from this formative period. These perspectives include neo-classical economics; two strains of Marxian analysis, one emphasizing political economy of nation states and the other emphasizing global dimensions of capitalism; a Durkheimian interpretation that economic action rests on social norms; and a Weberian view of the historical development and diffusion of Western capitalism. Despite the continuing currency of these early perspectives, the sociology of development, as a defined area of study, dates only from the post World War II era. Starting from this period, we have gone through two and have entered a third "climate of opinion." Each climate of opinion contains a "circle of discourse" that connects what is perceived to be happening in the world to how theorists representing different perspectives analyze social, political, and economic changes. The task of the course is to recognize the sociology of theorizing the global economy, even as we try to engage in the theoretical effort ourselves. Using a comparative, historical perspective to examine both a changing world and changing views of the world, we will outline theoretical developments in the first two periods, and then examine in depth those in the current period. In the first period immediately following World War II, a period in which the cold war developed, a number of sociologists and economists began systematically to investigate Third World societies--societies outside the capitalist and communist worlds. These observers mainly argued for a theory of inevitable endogenous change toward capitalist development and political democracy; this theory became known as modernization theory. In the 1960s, with the outbreak of the Vietnam War and of many mass movements, social theorists turned towards Marxian analysis and historical, comparative sociology in order to decipher the changing world as then perceived. In this period, development theorists began passionately to argue for critical, trans-societal views of global change. This line of theorizing encompasses both world systems theory and theories of dependent development. Although overlapping at first and engaged in a mutual deliberative discourse, these two sets of theories were then in tension with each other and have since diverged. In the last two decades, first with the rapprochement of the communist and capitalist worlds and then with the collapse of communism as a state system and of Marxism as a viable political ideology, the sociology of development is in process of changing in decisive ways. No clear consensus about the best ways to conceptualize economic change has emerged. In fact, quite to the contrary, there now exist several theoretical perspectives on global and local development that do not seem to be “talking to each other.” With this course, I hope to begin a conversation among competing multidisciplinary perspectives of the current state of global capitalism and local development and the relation between the two.