Central European University (two-credit course):

Key Issues in Sociological Theory (Classical Sociological Theory)

Autumn 2015, 2-Credits (M.A.)

This course is divided into two.  Part I introduces some of the canon of “classical” sociological theories that continue to shape contemporary sociological theory and empirical research. We will read selections from Karl Marx, Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, and Georg Simmel. We will largely focus on their respective accounts of modernity, while also learning how to critically assess social theories.

Part II then engages in a reflective exercise, where we note which voices and processes have been silenced within the classical “canon.” We will read critiques by R.W. Connell and Gurminder K. Bhambra, and also the work of Simone de Beauvoir and Frantz Fanon. This component finishes with group presentations where you present arguments for including other authors into “the canon,” or can make a defense of the so-called classics.

This class eschews overly simplistic labels like conflict theorists versus functionalists.  Even if you have read some of these theorists before, you are strongly encouraged to read them with an open – and critical – mind. I also strongly encourage plain language in class and in your written assignments.

Pedagogical Goals : The goals of this course are to lay a foundation for sociological thinking, and of equal importance, for you to develop your oral and written argumentation/analytical skills.

Course syllabus available here.