Social Theory (SOC 201)

2023 Fall
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Ateş Ali Altınordu,
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SPS101 SPS102
Formal lecture,Seminar
Communicative,Discussion based learning
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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.


1) To develop an appreciation of the role of theory in social science;
2) To familiarize students with major contemporary sociological theories;
3) To develop the ability to analyze philosophical foundations of theoretical writings;
4) To improve students' abstract thinking skills in areas of social concern.


  • Approach social and political problems from a multidimensional perspective which avoids simplistic ways of thinking about the social world.
  • Identify and distinguish between major strands in social theory.
  • Apply existing theoretical perspectives and insights to empirical research.
  • Construct generalized hypotheses out of specific cases in a consistent manner.


1. Understand the world, their country, their society, as well as themselves and have awareness of ethical problems, social rights, values and responsibility to the self and to others. 5

2. Understand different disciplines from natural and social sciences to mathematics and art, and develop interdisciplinary approaches in thinking and practice. 3

3. Think critically, follow innovations and developments in science and technology, demonstrate personal and organizational entrepreneurship and engage in life-long learning in various subjects; have the ability to continue to educate him/herself. 4

4. Communicate effectively in Turkish and English by oral, written, graphical and technological means. 4

5. Take individual and team responsibility, function effectively and respectively as an individual and a member or a leader of a team; and have the skills to work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams. 3

1. Develop knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in humanities and social sciences. 5

2. Assess how global, national and regional developments affect society. 5

3. Know how to access and evaluate data from various sources of information. 3

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the multiple methodologies and interpret different approaches, concepts, and theoretical legacies in the interdisciplinary field of Cultural Studies. 5

2. Identify interconnections of knowledge within and across the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, literature, visual studies, philosophy, and geography. 5

3. Cultivate a critical approach to the study of culture, articulating the relations between culture, power, and history; exploring cultural diversity and socio-cultural change at the local, national and global level; and exploring the corresponding demands for rights and social justice. 5

4. With the use of appropriate technologies, be able to present advanced oral and written evaluations of developments in the realm of cultural production, consumption, and representation. 4

1. To analyze national and global events from various social science perspectives. 5

2. To demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge on political science and international relations and to state views and positions with advanced oral and written skills. 5

3. To compete for increasing career opportunities in national and global institutions. 3

4. To (be able to) understand and follow the changes in political behaviours, opinions and structures. 5

5. To gain the ability to make logical inferences on social and political issues based on comparative and historical knowledge. 5

1. Understand and follow changes in patterns of political behavior, ideas and structures. 5

2. Develop the ability to make logical inferences about social and political issues on the basis of comparative and historical knowledge. 5


  Percentage (%)
Final 45
Midterm 45
Participation 10



Mills, C. Wright. 1959. The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press, 3-13.

Nisbet, Robert A. 1993. "The Two Revolutions." Pp. 21-44 in The Sociological Tradition. New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers.

Marx, Karl. 1978. "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction." Pp. 53-65 in The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd edition. Edited by Robert C. Tucker. W.W. Norton.

Marx, Karl. "Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844." Pp. 70-81 in The Marx-Engels Reader.

Marx, Karl. "Theses on Feuerbach." Pp. 143-145 in The Marx-Engels Reader.

Marx, Karl. "German Ideology." Pp. 148-175 in The Marx-Engels Reader.

Marx, Karl. Selections from Capital, Volume 1. Pp. 302-36; 344-61 in The Marx-Engels Reader.

Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. "Manifesto of the Communist Party." Pp. 473-500 in The Marx-Engels Reader.

Durkheim, Emile. 1997. The Division of Labor in Society. The Free Press, 1-8; 38-41; 83-87; 329-341.

Durkheim, Emile. 1982. "What is a Social Fact?" Pp. 50-59 in The Rules of Sociological Method. The Free Press.

Durkheim, Emile. 1951. Suicide. The Free Press: 41-53; 171-276.

Durkheim, Emile. 1995. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. The Free Press, 1-44; 99-126; 207-236; 303-354; 429-448.

Weber, Max. 1992. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Routledge, xviii-xlii; 3-80; 102-125.

Weber, Max. 2019. Economy and Society. Edited and translated by Keith Tribe. Harvard University Press, 101-117, 134-135.

Weber, Max. 2019. Economy and Society. Edited and translated by Keith Tribe. Harvard University Press, 338-382.

Weber, Max. 1946. "Politics as a Vocation." Pp. 77-128 in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Edited by H.H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. Oxford University Press.

Freud, Sigmund. 1930. Civilization and Its Discontents. W.W. Norton. Chapters 3-8, pp. 37-112.

Marcuse, Herbert. 1956. Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud. Beacon Press. Chapters 2 & 7, pp. 21-54, 140-158.

Horkheimer, Max and Theodor W. Adorno. 2002. Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments. Stanford University Press, 1-34.

Adorno, Theodor W. 1975. "Culture Industry Reconsidered." New German Critique 6: 12-19.

Beauvoir, Simone de. 2011 [1949]. The Second Sex. Vintage Books. Pp 3-17.

Butler, Judith. 1998. "Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory." Theatre Journal 40(4): 519-531.

Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt. 2007 [1903]. The Souls of Black Folk. Oxford University Press, 1-44, 111-127.

Collins, Patricia Hill. 1986. "Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought." Social Problems 33(6): 14-32.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Harvard University Press, 1-96.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1986. "The Forms of Capital." Pp. 241-258 in J. Richardson. Ed. Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education. Greenwood.

Foucault, Michel. 2012. Selections from The History of Sexuality, 'Truth and Power,' and Discipline and Punish. Pp. 295-321 in Contemporary Sociological Theory. Edited by Craig Calhoun, Joseph Gerteis, James Moody, Steven Pfaff, and Indermohan Virk. Wiley-Blackwell.

Sociology is a Martial Art. 2001. Directed by Pierre Carles. C.P. Productions / V.F. Films Productions.

Optional Readings

Giddens, Anthony. 1971. "Marx's Early Writings." Pp. 1-17 in Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim, and Max Weber. Cambridge University Press.

Giddens, Anthony. "Historical Materialism." Pp. 18-34 in Capitalism and Modern Social Theory.

Giddens, Anthony. "The Relations of Production and Class Structure." Pp. 35-45 in Capitalism and Modern Social Theory and ?The Theory of Capitalist Development.? Pp. 46-63 in Capitalism and Modern Social Theory.

Giddens, Anthony. "Durkheim's Early Works." Pp. 65-81 in Capitalism and Modern Social Theory and "Durkheim's Conception of Sociological Method." Pp. 82-94 in Capitalism and Modern Social Theory.

Giddens, Anthony. "Max Weber: Protestantism and Capitalism." Pp. 119-132 in Capitalism and Modern Social Theory.