BUND, ADAM H
Corporations are major institutional actors of this modern world. This course reviews anthropological and social science literatures that are studies of, or have relevance to the study of, corporations or businesses more broadly. Students will learn how businesses, as social organizations and as an empirical focus of study, can be differently conceptualized and approached by examining how different theoretical paradigms and assumptions have shaped the research questions. Students will also learn what methods can be used to do ethnographic researches in organizational settings. The ultimate goal would be to understand how theories and methods work in relation to each other, in the context of anthropological study of business organizations. Among the questions this course asks are: how do different views of “culture” influence the study of organizations? How does theory influence recognition as to what counts as data; and how have specific observations at field sites informed the development of theories of businesses and different aspects of business organizational life? The readings are selectively chosen from foundational texts that lay the grounds for anthropology of business (e.g., Taylor, Weber); Human Relations Area field; Anthropology of Work; as well as the more recent texts that provide regional cross-cultural analyses of corporations; examine the reproduction of culture at the corporate sites; or discuss specific business practices (e.g., advertising) from the practitioners’ perspective. This course will be of interest to anyone interested in understanding and examining corporate, bureaucratic, or organizational life from an anthropological standpoint.