SOC 221
Money and Intimacy Spring 2020
Division II

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Can money buy love and care? The course will consider this taboo question from a sociological perspective. We will look into how relevant this question has been over the course of history, what forces have contributed to the shift in thinking about it, and, most importantly, how sociological research helps us understand its current ramifications. We will discuss a wide range of aspects of family life: the relationship between arranged marriage and romantic relationship, the role of inheritance in family and social life, the distribution of resources in the context of modern family forms (most notably remarriages), and the outsourcing of care for dependents. Intimacy bears different value and content in these changing contexts. The course will further look into the changing character of new economy where “people’s skills” are ever more required from employees (emotional labor) and where intimacy, care, and/or sex constitute purchasable commodities. A reflection on the growth of new technologies will complicate some of the discussed concepts and notions, but throughout a common denominator of our discussion will be the role of social inequality.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 15
Class#: 3107
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: classroom participation and a final research paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Anthropology and Sociology majors
Distributions: Division II

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