02.210TS Who Gets Ahead? Sociology of Social Networks and Social Capital

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How do we attain status and success in society?  One of the important premises in studies on status attainment is as follows: “It is not what you know but who you know.”  This course focuses on how individuals and institutions build their social networks (connections) and social capital (trust, social influence, status, and resources).  The course offers a critical understanding of social networks and social capital as essential factors in determining success and failure of individual and institutional undertakings.  The course particularly considers the effects of social networks and social capital formation on education, finding jobs, forming ties, and building teams.  This course is designed to balance theories, methods, and applications, drawing from the literature on sociology of social networks and social capital suitable for undergraduates and graduates.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify and explain sociological concepts and perspectives on social networks and social capital.
  • Apply sociological strategies for performing research
  • Apply sociological concepts and perspectives to interpret social data for assignments

 Measurable Outcomes

  • Analysis and use of sociological concepts and perspectives on social networks and social capital
  • Critical assessment of previous literature and research findings and its relevance to assignments
  • Development and delivery of discussions, debates and videos and other assignments describing the key sociological concepts and research findings

Course Requirement

Assessment Percentage
WEC – Class participation (includes oral response memos in teams) 20
WEC – Group Video and Poster 20
WEC – Literature Review Paper 30
WEC – Final Exam 30

Weekly Schedule

Week 1: Introduction – It’s a small world

Week 2: Making sociological sense of success – trust and connections are the new currency

Week 3: Understanding society, social hierarchy, and relationships

Week 4: Are social networks important?

Week 5: What is social capital?  Is it important?

Week 6: Video and Poster Presentations

Week 7: Recess

Week 8: Writing Seminar

Week 9: Understanding organizational/entrepreneurial social capital and social networks

Week 10: What type of social networks and social capital are needed for seeking employment?

Week 11: What makes us fail? Understanding social alienation and poor reputation from social networks and social capital perspectives

Week 12: Selected topics – TBC

Week 13: Review

Week 14: Final Exams

Instructor
Nilanjan Raghunath