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SOSC 115
Spring 2014
Koc University, Core Program, Spring 2014
Monday & Wednesday, 12:30-13:45, CAS Z08
Dr. Onur Ulas Ince
Office hours: Monday & Wednesday, 10:00-11:00, 2:00-3:00 or by appointment
Office: CAS 147
This course aims to induce critical thinking about the idea of the “economy.” In our
everyday lives, we intuitively treat the economy as an all-encompassing yet obscure
reality, as we believe its workings can be grasped only by economists who speak its
specialized, technical language. In this course, we will problematize this view of the
economy through a historical survey of Western social thought on central economic
concepts and questions, such as property and exchange, labor and work, production and
consumption. Such a survey reveals that economic problems are never purely economic
but have always been entwined with political issues and ethical judgments. As we
examine a range of social theories by situating them in their historical contexts, we will
see how questions of power, authority, and legitimacy, and conceptions of good life,
meaningful existence, and social purpose have been central to various definitions of the
economy. We will see that processes of production and consumption, and institutions of
property and markets do not simply concern livelihood but are invariably implicated in
profound controversies about justice, fairness, freedom, and equality. Grappling with
diverse approaches to the economy, some of which are wildly different than today’s
dominant theories, is intended to cultivate a critical distance toward our tacit assumptions
and broaden the scope of questions we can ask about prevailing economic structures and
Course material:
All required readings are provided in the course package available for purchase at
Attendance: 5%
Participation: 10%
Midterm exam: 35%
Final exam (cumulative): 50%
Exam dates are tentative; they will be announced by the Registrar's office.
SOSC 115
Spring 2014
Structure and expectations:
Each class will incorporate a one-hour lecture followed by 15-minutes of question-andanswer session. Lectures will not simply go over the course material and explain them for
you. I will contextualize and interpret the assigned texts, putting them in historical
perspective and expounding their theoretical significance. It is therefore very important
for you to come to class having done the readings assigned for that day. Doing otherwise
will give you less access to the content of the lectures. Secondly, doing the readings on
time wards against falling behind schedule and having to catch up before the midterm and
final exams. Finally, the course incorporates in-class written exercises (part of the
participation requirement), which you will not be able to complete without having read
the material.
Attendance is part of your grade. I will take attendance in each class. Attendance means
that you come to class on time and leave on time: no late arrivals, no early departures. If
you are unable to attend a class, you should inform me by e-mail or in person, preferably
prior to class. It is your responsibility to obtain the notes for the lectures you miss. If you
cannot attend to due to health issues, you should provide a medical report from the Health
Center. No other form of medical documentation will be accepted. I reserve the discretion
to decide on how your absences, excused as well as unexcused, will reflect on your
attendance grade.
I strongly encourage you to participate in class by asking questions and sharing your
thoughts on the issue under discussion. If you have a question of clarification during the
lecture, feel free to raise your hand. The question-and-answer period also serves as a
platform for voicing your reflections on the material and engaging in exchange with your
colleagues. Disagreement is quite common when it comes to the kind of questions we
explore in this class, and I endorse it as long as such disagreement is expressed with
mutual respect and cordiality. I understand that not everyone is equally comfortable
speaking in public. If you are shy or nervous about speaking in class, let me know within
the first two weeks of the semester – this is not for excusing you from speaking in class
but in order talk about how to make your participation less anxiety-inducing.
In addition to class discussion, you will have unannounced in-class exercises, which will
often take the form a short written response to a question I will pose about the assigned
material before the lecture – which is another reason you should be in class on time.
Missed in-class exercises cannot be made up.
Finally, visiting me during my office hours – not for the sake of visiting but with
questions relevant to the readings or lectures – will count towards your participation
grade. If my office hours conflict with your class schedule, please send me an e-mail
stating your request to meet, specifying the issue you would like to discuss, and a
schedule of the times you can meet.
SOSC 115
Spring 2014
There will be one midterm and one final examination for this class. Both exams will be
based on assigned readings, lectures, and in-class discussions. Questions on the exam
may include identifications, short answers, and essays of various lengths. Exam dates will
be announced by the university registrar and are non-negotiable.
Other policies
During lectures, the following are unprofessional and impolite manners of behavior,
which –if displayed- will affect your grade negatively: being late, leaving early, dozing
off, reading materials unrelated to the course, using your phone for calls or text
messaging, talking among yourselves, talking about stuff irrelevant to the discussion,
interrupting or being disrespectful to each other during discussions. You are expected to
turn your cell phones off during class.
The use of all electronic devices such as laptops, ipads, electronic readers, cell phones,
MP3 players are prohibited during class time.
If you have questions or objections to a grade, you should let me know within seven days
after I return your exams. You should also provide me with written explanation as to
what you think merits more points and why. Please bear in mind that in such exchanges,
discovery of further problems with the work is possible and this may result in reduction
of the given grade.
I discuss graded exams only in person, not over e-mail.
A missed exam without proper documentation will result in 0 points for that component
of the grade.
Koç University Statement on Academic Honesty
Koç University expects all its students to perform course-related activities in accordance
academic dishonesty at Koç University include but are not limited to cheating,
plagiarism, collusion, and impersonating. This statement’s goal is to draw attention to
cheating and plagiarism related actions deemed unacceptable within the context of
Student Code of Conduct:
All individual assignments must be completed by the student himself/herself, and all
team assignments must be completed by the members of the team, without the aid of
other individuals. If a team member does not contribute to the written documents or
participate in the activities of the team, his/her name should not appear on the work
submitted for evaluation.
Plagiarism is defined as ‘borrowing or using someone else’s written statements or ideas
without giving written acknowledgement to the author’. Students are encouraged to
conduct research beyond the course material, but they must not use any documents
SOSC 115
Spring 2014
prepared by current or previous students, or notes prepared by instructors at Koç
University or other universities without properly citing the source. Furthermore, students
( and to refrain from all forms
of unacceptable behavior during lectures. Failure to adhere to expected behavior may
result in disciplinary action.
There are two kinds of plagiarism: Intentional and accidental. Intentional plagiarism
(Example: Using a classmate’s homework as one’s own because the student does not
want to spend time working on that homework) is considered intellectual theft, and there
is no need to emphasize the wrongfulness of this act. Accidental plagiarism, on the other
hand, may be considered as a ‘more acceptable’ form of plagiarism by some students,
which is certainly not how it is perceived by the University administration and faculty.
The student is responsible from properly citing a source if he/she is making use of
another person’s work. For an example on accidental plagiarism, please refer to the
document titled “An Example on Accidental Plagiarism” (see the end of the syllabus).
If you are unsure whether the action you will take would be a violation of Koç
University’s Student Code of Conduct, please consult with your instructor before taking
that action.
An Example on Accidental Plagiarism
This example is taken from a document prepared by the City University of New York.
The following text is taken from Elaine Tyler May’s ‘Myths and Realities of the
American Family’:
“Because women's wages often continue to reflect the fiction that men earn the family
wage, single mothers rarely earn enough to support themselves and their children
adequately. And because work is still organized around the assumption that mothers stay
home with children, even though few mothers can afford to do so, child-care facilities in
the United States remain woefully inadequate.”
Below, there is an excerpt from a student’s homework, who made use of May’s original
“As Elaine Tyler May points out, “women's wages often continue to reflect the fiction
that men earn the family wage” (588). Thus many single mothers cannot support
themselves and their children adequately. Furthermore, since work is based on the
assumption that mothers stay home with children, facilities for day care in this country
are still “woefully inadequate.” (May 589)”.
You may think that there is no plagiarism here since the student is citing the original
author. However, this is an instance of accidental plagiarism. Although the student cites
May and uses quotation marks occasionally, the rest of the sentences, more specifically
the following section: “Thus many single mothers cannot support themselves and their
children adequately. Furthermore, since work is based on the assumption that mothers
SOSC 115
Spring 2014
stay home with children, facilities for day care in this country are still “woefully
inadequate.” (May 589)” almost exactly duplicates May’s original language. So, in order
to avoid plagiarism, the student either had to use quotation marks for the rest of the
sentences as well, or he/she had to paraphrase May’s ideas by using not only his/her own
words, but his/her own original ideas as well. You should keep in mind that accidental
plagiarism often occurs when the student does not really understand the original text but
still tries to make use of it. Understanding the original text and understanding why you
agree or disagree with the ideas proposed in that text is crucial both for avoiding
plagiarism and for your intellectual development.
Avoiding and Detecting Plagiarism: A Guide for Graduate Students and Faculty.
The Graduate Center. City University of New York, 2012. Web.
(Note: all of the assigned readings comprise selections from the works indicated)
Week 1
Mon, Feb 3
Wed, Feb 5
Henry Spiegel, The Growth of Economic Thought, “Introduction.”
Week 2
Mon, Feb 10
Plato, Republic
Wed, Feb 12
Aristotle, Politics and Nicomachean Ethics
Week 3
Mon, Feb 17
Aristotle (continued)
Wed, Feb 19
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
SOSC 115
Spring 2014
Week 4
Mon, Feb 24
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
Wed, Feb 26
John Locke, Two Treatises of Government
Week 5
Mon, Mar 3
John Locke (continued)
Wed, Mar 5
David Hume, Essays, Moral, Political and Literary
Week 6
Mon, Mar 10
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations
Wed, Mar 12
Adam Smith, Lectures on Jurisprudence
Week 7
Mon, Mar 17
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality
Wed, Mar 19
Thomas Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population
David Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation
Week 8
Mon, Mar 24
John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy
Wed, Mar 26
Friedrich List, The National System of Political Economy
Week 9
Mon, Mar 31
Karl Marx, The Manifesto of the Communist Party
SOSC 115
Spring 2014
Wed, Apr 2
Capital, Vol. 1; “Gotha Programme”
Week 10
Apr 7, 9: NO CLASS (Spring Break)
Week 11
Mon, Apr 14
Mikhail Bakunin, The Political Philosophy of Bakunin
Wed, Apr 16
Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid
Week 12
Mon, Apr 21
Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy
Wed, Apr 23
NO CLASS (National Sovereignty Day)
Week 13
Mon, Apr 28
Friedrich von Hayek, Law, Legislation, and Liberty, Vol. 2
Wed, Apr 20
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
Week 14
Mon, May 5
John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money
Wed, May 7
John Maynard Keynes (continued)
Week 15 (May 12)
Mon, May 12
Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation
Wed, May 14
Karl Polanyi (continued)