Communities, Societies, States: Foundations of Social Theory

Undergraduate Program Status

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Students on-site
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Course Description: 

This course focuses on some of the most influential foundational social theorists. We will begin the course by considering what is social theory? When did thinkers start to identify an entity called “society”?   What were their visions of the social order – or conflict?

The emergence of social theory cannot be separated from the emergence of modernity, and shifts in philosophy which displaced God and religious morality as an organizing pillar of life and socio-political order. The story of social theory, of visions of the social, and the rise of the disciplines of sociology and anthropology, are closely aligned to the major historical trend of secularization. New questions followed about what orders social (and political) life, what brings us to act collectively and make choices, and what are (revolutionary) visions of an alternative social order.

Learning Outcomes: 

The goals of this course are to:

-          Give students a foundation in social thought and visions of the social order;

-          Familiarize students with the basic structures, and divisions, that still shaping contemporary social life.

-          Understand some of the ongoing tensions within sociological theory since its founding;

-          Develop students’ oral and written argumentation skills

-          Develop detailed critical analysis and interpretation skills.