American Sociological Association

Using a Social Science–Fictional Play to Teach about Global Capitalism and Macro-structural Systems in Introduction to Sociology

This article explores the use of a social science–fictional play to teach macro-structural concepts related to global capitalism and surplus labor in a small and large Introduction to Sociology course. Relying on a cross-disciplinary and critical pedagogical approach that combines theory and practice to empower students to develop a critical consciousness of the world around them, the authors develop an active learning exercise centered on an in-class reading of the dystopian play I Like Firing People written by sociologists Charles Derber and Yale Magrass. To assess the effectiveness of the exercise to increase student engagement and conceptual learning, the authors use quantitative and qualitative data and a quasi-experimental research design. Even with the mixed findings, the reading of an evocative social scientific fictional play coupled with short writing exercises and class discussions appears to assist in making macro-structural systems more visible and real to students and offers a unique role-playing opportunity that highlights multiple perspectives on the global capitalist economy.


Cynthia Fabrizio Pelak





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