The purpose of the course is to discuss key questions of modern social theory by studying classic and contemporary texts that have shaped the current debate. On the basis of these texts, we will elaborate central concepts for the analysis and evaluation of modern societies. Topics for discussion include the methodological status of social theory, different characterizations of modern society, the relation of agency and structure, the critique of certain features of modern society and the relevance of the categories of race and gender. The course will serve as a general introduction to modern social theory – it does not require any previous knowledge of this field, but the willingness to engage with complex theoretical texts and their arguments.
Delanty, Gerard (2000): The Foundations of Social Theory: Origins and Trajectories, in: Bryan S. Turner (ed.): The Blackwell Companion to Social Theory, 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell, 21–46.
Outhwaite, William (2000): The Philosophy of Social Science, in: Bryan S. Turner (ed.): The Blackwell Companion to Social Theory, 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell, 47–70.
Christman John (2004): Social and Political Philosophy, London: Routledge.
Harrington, Austin (ed.) (2004): Modern Social Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Joas, Hans; Knöbl, Wolfgang (2009): Social Theory. Twenty Introductory Lectures. Cambridge University Press.