New Sociology Graduate Course in Spring 2012

SOC 596ZG: Global Ethnographies—Prof. Gille

The purpose of this course is to help graduate students develop an analytical and methodological toolkit with which to embark on their research projects.

We will address the following questions.

  • How can we give an account of people’s diverse experiences of globalization?
  • How can ethnography, traditionally understood as the study of the here and now, be relevant for the study of communities and cultures whose boundaries are seen as increasingly porous?
  • How do we study issues, people, places without ignoring connections and links among multiple sites but without fetishizing the global?
  • How do we choose the appropriate level of analysis when social relations stretch beyond national boundaries?
  • What implications does the conceptualization of globalization carry for methodology and political conclusions?
  • What is the role of historical analysis in studying globalization ethnographically?
  • What changes are necessary in qualitative research for a critical analysis of social processes associated with globalization?
  • What are the theoretical implications of recent conceptualizations of neoliberal globalization for interpreting our data?

We will start with a brief overview of ethnography as method then we will compare and evaluate different conceptualizations of globalization in social theory and research. From the middle of the semester on we will focus on how various scholars have conceptualized the social and the spatial—whether implicitly or explicitly. We will explore the political and methodological implications of each of these approaches.

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