What is society? What makes and holds societies together?
Why and how do societies change and develop -
or else fail to do so? This introductory sociology
course presents an overview of the major theories
of society proposed through the 19th and 20th centuries,
ranging from classical theory through Marx and Weber
to critical theory, hermeneutics and the interpretive
tradition, psychoanalysis, structuralism, post-structuralism
, post-colonial theory, feminist and post-modernist
theories. Key issues for the study of (post)modern
society include: the relationship between knowledge, power
and representation; consumption, commoditization and
electronic forms of exchange; the impact of new
information technologies; transnationalism, global cities
and hybrid identities; and local knowledge and everyday life
viewed as text and performance. While the last few decades'
decline of master narratives or "grand theories"
has fed into the current emphasis on
interdisciplinarity, the main premise of this course
is that the need for interdisciplinarity brings with it a
further need: that of a firm grounding in social theory.