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Please note that the syllabus for each course will be available on the first day of class. 
Dr. Ravenelle's Bio
SOCI 427
SOCI 101: Sociological Perspectives

This course is intended to provide an introduction to sociology as a discipline that includes study of differences and equality, social structure and institutions, culture, social change, individuals and populations, and social psychology.

SOCI 427: The Labor Force

This course is intended to give the student an overview of the changing nature of the labor force and introduces some key issues in the study of work and employment.  Most of the material will deal with the U.S. in the 20th and 21st centuries, though we will also make cross-national comparisons and emphasize issues facing the labor force of the future.


The course will focus on both the structure of work and characteristics of workers in the U.S. labor force. Topics related to the structure of work and the U.S. labor market include: what is work; definitions of and trends in employment and unemployment; labor force participation rates of various groups; types of employment relations and the gig economy occupational skills and technology; job quality and income inequality; and unions and other sources of occupational power.  We also study characteristics of the workers in the U.S. labor force, such as: how people are matched to jobs; education and work; work-related inequalities between men and women; racial inequality; relations between work and family; the distribution of jobs among regions in the U.S. and among countries in the world; and migration and immigration.


All students can benefit from taking this course, regardless of whether they are majoring in Sociology or Management and Society.  Everyone will be likely to work for pay during their lives and so will participate in the labor force.  Understanding how and why jobs differ will give you a better idea of what kinds of work you might want to engage in once you leave UNC.  Such knowledge will also enable you to prepare yourself better for the kinds of jobs that are likely to be available in the future. 


SOCI 302 -- Fieldwork in Entrepreneurship*

Rent the Runway. Chase Sapphire. Heineken.


Great ideas don't always result in entrepreneurial success -- you also have to know your potential audience or customer base. Where is there a gap in the market for a product, service, or nonprofit? What do your potential clients really think of your idea? How do they interact with your product or service? In this research methodology course, students will receive hands-on experience in conducting interviews and focus groups and engaging in participant observation in order to determine potential customer/client interest in a product, service, or nonprofit. Special attention will be paid to analyzing research findings in order to create actionable insights and while also learning from Harvard Business Review case studies on how Rent the Runway, Heineken, Hello Alfred, and other organizations harnessed sociological research in order to build success. Cross-referenced with Sociology and the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship.


In fall 2021, students will have the opportunity to work on a business or nonprofit idea of their creation, or work on a COVID-focused product or service.


There are no prerequisites. However, students may find it preferable to take this course after completing either SOCI 101: Sociological Perspectives or ECON 125: Introduction to Entrepreneurship. If students are a part of the Shuford Program Minor in Entrepreneurship, they should take ECON 125 before this class.

*This class was previously known as SOCI 290 in Spring 2020

Alexandrea Ravenelle, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Faculty Fellow with the Center for Urban and Regional Studies. 

Her first book, Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy,  was published by the University of California Press in March 2019.

Ravenelle is working on two mixed methods research projects: Work in the Time of COVID-19, funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, to study the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on precarious and gig workers in New York City, and After the Hustle, funded through a Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation inaugural Knowledge Challenge grant, examining the impact of high-status gig work and sudden platform closings on gig economy entrepreneurs.


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