CST (Contemporary Social Theory)


About the Course

Contemporary Social Theory is a postgraduate course as part of the Humanities and Social Sciences MA program. It constitutes the second-leg of a two-semester social theory course. CST is a compulsory three- credit course.

This course presents the students with an overview of contemporary theories in social sciences.  The evolution of social theory in the twentieth century will be analyzed with reference to major themes during the term.  Our aim will be to understand and make sense of ‘social theory’ that seems to follow a different historical and thematic trajectory when compared to political theory, cultural theory or history of philosophy. Social theory is often conceived and designed as a field close to, but not exactly similar to sociological theory.

During the lecture we will attempt to comprehend the views of major theorists, their relation to other theories and the way in which certain concepts are covered and analyzed in their theories.  Among the major themes that are relevant to our discussion with regards to social theory will be society, community, individual, structure, agency, modernity, postmodernity and globalization.


Weekly Schedule

Week 1

Introducing Social Theory

Week 2

The Heritage of Hermeneutics: Dilthey, Weber & Gadamer 

Week 3

The Frankfurt School I: Adorno & Horkheimer

Week 4

The Frankfurt School II: Freud, Adorno, Fromm & Marcuse

Week 5

Structuralism: Saussure, Levi-Strauss & Barthes

Week 6

Hegemony and Ideology: Althusser & Gramsci

Week 7

Modernity as an Unfinished Project: Habermas

Week 8

Discipline, Subjectivity & Power: Foucault

Week 9

Between Structure and Agent, Theories of Structuration: Bourdieu & Giddens

Week 10

The Poststructuralist Turn: Lacan & Derrida

Week 11

Post-feminism and Queer Theory: Kristeva, Butler & Haraway

Week 12

The Condition of Postmodernity: Harvey & Jameson

Week 13

Hyperreality and Rhizomatics: Baudrillard, Deleuze & Guattari

Week 14

Networks, Risks & Liquids: Castells, Beck & Bauman

Week 15

Discussion of papers