What is society? What characterizes it and what distinguishes it from animal society? Culture and institutions. We will look specifically at the origins of institutionalization and culture; sex and gender as cultural and institutional; the particular role of language or “the symbolic” in the formation of institutions; informal institutions as culture; we will seek to understand what norms, values and beliefs are, and their importance; and we will look specifically at human rights in terms of both culture and institutionality. Our understanding of how these phenomena fit together requires an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology and behavioral economics, among other disciplines. This course will be attractive to students of economics and business, law, humanities and social sciences.
Students will consider the source and significance not only of their own behavior, but of social behavior too: theft, honesty, faithfulness, corruption, free-riding, female genital cutting, clothing choices, infidelity, friendship, terrorism and more, will be discussed.