For the written component of the course students will write two short papers (five to seven pages of text each). Each paper will take a current event article and then highlight, contrast, and compare the basic sociological assumptions of two theorists from the unit being studied and suggest how the assumptions of these theorists shapes our understanding of the topic and society in general. In sum, how would two contrasting theorists see, interpret, and try to understand the current event. The paper should be five to seven pages of text in length, typed double spaced Times New Roman, 12 point, page numbers, with margins no larger than one inch each side. All papers must include students’ full name, a title, as well as the course and section. Cite all sources and document materials on a separate reference page.
These are the units being studied:
Week 10: Neo-Marxism and Feminist Theories
Who and what is the stranger? Is there an advantage to being a majority? What are the vectors of oppression and privilege?
How has Marx been adapted to understand modernity and its problems? How does neo-Marxism deal with culture? What is Critical Theory? What is an oligarchy? Who rules the U.S.?
Who and what are the power elite? Is there a global elite? What is patriarchy?
What is Feminists theory? How do women figure into Marx? What is intersectionality theory?
How does a person’s standpoint inform how they see the world?
Week 11: Neo-Functionalism
How has Durkheim been adapted to understand modernity?
What are structures? What are latent and manifest functions? What are dysfunctions? What is the Veblen Paradox?
What is AGIL? What is a behavioral organism? What is patterned maintenance? What are statuses and roles? What are need-dispositions?
What is an autopoietic system? What is differentiation?
Note: Davis and Moore reading
Week 12-13: Modernity, Postmodernism, Structuralism, and Post-Structuralism
What is modernity and post modernity?
How does contemporary life challenge social theory?
What is structuration? What is duality and the relationship of agency to structure? What is post-structuralism? What is habitus and field? What is reflexive sociology? What is a sociology of postmodernity?
What is a panopticon?
Where is power and control in a postindustrial society?
How has the media impacted modernity?
How do consumption and consumerism impact contemporary life?
Do we live in a risk society?
What is globalization? What is world-systems theory? What is a runaway World? Who benefits from global stratification?
What is McDonaldization? Is modernity a fastfood reality?