Please note that the syllabus for each course will be available on the first day of class in Jan. 2020.
Dr. Ravenelle's Bio
SOCI 290/ ECON 290: Special Topics -- Fieldwork in Entrepreneurship
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 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.
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.
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.
Alexandrea Ravenelle, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU.
Her first book, Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy, was published by the University of California Press in March 2019.
Her research explores the lived experience of sharing economy workers for such services as Airbnb, Uber/Lyft, TaskRabbit and Kitchensurfing.
Recently awarded an Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Knowledge Challenge grant, Ravenelle is currently working on her next project, After the Hustle, that examines the impact of high-status gig work and sudden platform closing on gig economy entrepreneurs.