Social Theory Honors Section. Social Science 6112 Office Hours, Tuesdays, noon 2:00 COURSE DESCRIPTION

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1 Social Theory Honors Section Sociology 475 Professor Cameron Macdonald T-Th 2:30-3: Social Science Social Science 6112 Office Hours, Tuesdays, noon 2:00 COURSE DESCRIPTION In this course we will study major thinkers and theoretical perspectives within sociology. In particular, we will explore how these thinkers address four of the central concerns of modernity: capitalism as a form of social order; the interplay between democracy and bureaucracy; and the role of religion in the face of the rise of scientific thought and the concept of the individual in complex societies. Students can expect to: (1) become familiar with the foundational concepts, analytic frameworks, and debates that inform sociological thought and practice; (2) understand these ideas, concepts, and debates in terms of the sociohistorical contexts in which they developed; and (3) learn to identify and assess the assumptions and implications underlying these sociological theories. You will also be expected to apply these theoretical perspectives to contemporary problems. COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS Required course participation includes doing all of the assigned readings before class, and attending and participating in all class discussions. In addition, each of you will, with a partner, generate and distribute discussion questions at least two days in advance each class. The material we will be studying is sometimes difficult, but always fascinating careful reading of the texts, diligent note-taking during lectures, and active participation in class will be essential to your success. Attendance is mandatory. You will also be expected to do close reading of the assigned texts. When we discuss the theorists presented, you will be expected to be able to refer to the page numbers and location of relevant arguments and citations. This means you should bring the book and your notes to class every week. I will give a set of study questions for you to follow with each week s readings. Grades will be based on the following breakdown: Attendance/Participation 100 points; Paper 1 50 points; Paper 2 50 points; Paper III group research project and paper 100 points. REQUIRED READINGS Anonymous. Writing in Social Studies 10 (on Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, J.P. Mayer Ed. New York: Harper and Row, ISBN Robert C. Tucker, ed. The Marx-Engels Reader. Second ed. New York: W. W. Norton, ISBN X

2 Karl Marx. Capital. Ben Fowkes, Ed. New York: Penguin Classics, ISBN X Emile Durkheim. Suicide: A Study in Sociology. Ed. George Simpson. Trans. John A. Spaulding and George Simpson. New York: The Free Press, ISBN Emile Durkheim. The Division of Labor in Society. Trans. W. D. Halls. New York: The Free Press, ISBN Emile Durkheim. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Trans. Karen E. Fields. New York: The Free Press, ** Max Weber. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Trans. Talcott Parsons. New York: Routledge, ISBN X Max Weber. From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Trans. and eds. H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN Additional selections from will be marked in the course outline with an * COURSE OUTLINE Week One: Modernity and the Invention of Social Theory Tuesday, September 4: What is Social Theory? Overview and Introduction to the course Social Studies 10 Writing Social Theory* C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination* Thursday, September 6: What is Modernity? Robert A. Nisbet, The Two Revolutions, The Sociological Tradition* PART I: CAPITALISM, DEMOCRACY AND BUREAUCRACY Week Two: The Concept of Democracy Tuesday, September 11: Introduction to de Tocqueville On de Tocqueville from Ritzer, Classical Social Theory* Author s Introduction, pps. 9-20, Volume I, chapters 2-5, (pps ). **Fields Translation is out of print. Scans will be available online. 2

3 Thursday, September 13: Tyranny of the Majority Democracy in America, -vol. II, Book II, chs. 4-8 ( ) Week Three: The Critique of Democracy Tuesday, September 18: Thursday, September 20: The Taste for Material Well-Being Democracy in America, Volume II, Part 1: Chapters 1-2 (pps ); vol. II, Part II, chs. 1-8, 10-11, 13, 20 (pps , , , ) Democratic Despotism Democracy in America, vol. II, Book IV, Entire. Week Four: Karl Marx: The Young Philosopher Tuesday, September 25: On Alienation Ritzer, Introduction to Marx * Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity* Marx-Engels Reader, On the Jewish Question pps Thursday, September 27: Estranged Labor Marx-Engels Reader, Contribution to the Critique, pps ; Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, pps , Theses on Feuerbach, pps Week Five: The Critique of Capitalism Tuesday, October 2: Historical Materialism Marx-Engels Reader, The German Ideology, pps ; Marx on the History of His Opinions, pps Thursday, October 4: Revolutionary Program Marx-Engels Reader, Manifesto of the Communist Party, pps

4 Week Six: The Critique of Capital Tuesday, October 9: The Commodity and Its Value Karl Marx. Capital, Vol. One, pps , , , , , , , 672. Thursday, October 11: The Laws of Capitalist Accumulation Karl Marx. Capital, Vol. One, , , Week Seven: Weber and Modern Western Capitalism Tuesday, October 16: Capitalism in the West and the Calling The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, pps , 47-78, Thursday, October 18: The Problem of the Iron Cage The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, pps PART TWO: MODERN SOCIETY, THE INDIVIDUAL, AND THE PROBLEM OF MEANING Week Eight: Max Weber and the Problem of Rationalization Tuesday, October 23: Bureaucracy and the Types of Legitimate Authority From Max Weber, pps , , 220 (bottom)-235, The Types of Legitmate Authority, * The Routinization of Charisma * Thursday, October 25: Politics in a Rationalized World Weber, Politics as a Vocation in From Max Weber, pps ; Class, Status, Party On Socialism * 4

5 Week Nine: The Problem of Meaning in Technocratic Society Tuesday, October 30: Science and the Disenchantment of the World Weber, Science as a Vocation, in From Max Weber, pps. ( ). Religious Rejections of the World and Their Directions. ( ). Thursday, November 1: What Can Science Do? Weber, Objectivity in the Social Sciences * ****Paper I Due in Class**** Week Ten: Durkheim on Modernity Tuesday, November 6: Mechanical and Organic Solidarity Durkheim, The Division of Labor in Society, pps. Xxv-xxx, 1-7, 11-29, 31-64, , Thursday, November 8: Causes and Consequences of the Division of Labor Durkheim, The Division of Labor in Society, ( , , , ). Week Eleven: Tuesday, November 13: Alienation and Anomie Durkheim, Suicide, Introduction, Book II: chapters 1, 2, 3 (1 st paragraph, p. 171, pps ) Thursday, November 15: Durkheim, Suicide, Book III: chapters 1, 2 (pps ); chapter 3 (pps ) Week Twelve: Tuesday, November 22: The Problem of Religion/Solidarity in Modernity Religion and Social Solidarity Durkheim, Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Selections,* Thursday, November 24: THANKSGIVING! 5

6 Section III Case Study and Theoretical Application Week Thirteen: Tuesday, November 27: Research Groups Selecting Cases Group Discussion Thursday, November 29: Library Session (Location TBA) ***Paper II Due in class*** Week Fourteen: Tuesday, December 4: Thursday, December 6: Group Presentations de Tocqueville and Marx Groups Weber and Durkheim Groups Week Fifteen: Tuesday, December 11: Thursday, December 13: Wrap up and preparation for take-home exam Work Groups update bibliographic materials Final Class Wrap-up and paper preparation ***Paper III due via turnitin.com on 12/22/12** Happy Holidays! 6

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