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SO3523 Overview Strategy (re social theory) Relevance of the Greats: Marx: Western Marxism; Critical Theory; Bourdieu Weber: Foucault; Elias Durkheim:

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Presentation on theme: "SO3523 Overview Strategy (re social theory) Relevance of the Greats: Marx: Western Marxism; Critical Theory; Bourdieu Weber: Foucault; Elias Durkheim:"— Presentation transcript:

1 SO3523 Overview Strategy (re social theory) Relevance of the Greats: Marx: Western Marxism; Critical Theory; Bourdieu Weber: Foucault; Elias Durkheim: Postmodernism(!); Giddens Simmel: Social Phenomenology

2 SO3523 Overview Issues (re modernity) Order and Complexity Control and Choice Persistence and Change Structure and Agency

3 Marx Modern Social Order Class The economic base (substructure) of society. Class The economic base (substructure) of society. Class membership = relationship to the ownership of the means of production. In capitalist societies the means of production are privately owned. Through controlling influence over the social superstructure (media, education, politics, religion) class interests shape social reality.

4 Marx Modern Social Experience Alienation The estrangement of human beings from the products of their labour, themselves and others, which is the outcome of forced labour Alienation The estrangement of human beings from the products of their labour, themselves and others, which is the outcome of forced labour

5 Post-Marx 1: Modernity = Mass Society The Frankfurt School & Gramsci 1. The Cultural turn – what happened to Materialism? 2.Ideology and Hegemony – the constructed nature of knowledge 3.Mass Society or Class Society – passivity or conflict

6 Post-Marx 2 Habermas and late capitalism Defending Enlightenment and social progress 1.Communication – power and knowledge 2.Rational and forced consensus – persuasion and power 3.Gaps in the system - glimpses of a possible future 4.From critical theory to critical sociology – revolution and reform

7 Weber Modern Social Order The Iron Cage In Baxters view the care for the external world should lie on the shoulders of the saint like a light cloak that can be thrown aside at any moment. But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage…the spirit of religious asceticism has escaped the cage. But victorious capitalism, since it rests on mechanical foundations, needs its support no longer….No-one knows who will live in this cage in the future, or whether at the end of this tremendous development entirely new prophets will arise, or there will be a rebirth of old ideas or ideals, or, if neither, mechanized petrifaction. Weber, M The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism pp

8 Post-Weber 1 Foucault: The Disciplinary Society Panopticism 1.Power and Modernity - expertise 2.Self and Society - norms of normality 3.Surveillance Society - self-scrutiny and self-condemnation 4.Possible futures – discourse and discourses

9 Weber Modern Social Experience Rationalization The master concept of M. Webers analysis of modern capitalism, referring to a variety of related processes by which every aspect of human action became subject to calculation, measurement and control. Abercrombie et al Penguin Dictionary of Sociology

10 Post-Weber 2 Elias The Self-Disciplinary Society Civilising Process 1.Power and self-control - reason and emotion 2.Power, Status and Manners – court society 3.Civilisation and Barbarity – two-steps forward and one step back? 4.Modernity and Order – pacific or pacified society

11 Simmel Social Order Sociation. The web of interactions among people through which social reality is constructed. Social structures are the crystallization, the embedding, of interactions among individuals (adapted from) Abercrombie et al Penguin Dictionary of Sociology

12 Post-Simmel: Modernity = Multiple Realities 1.Social Phenomenology - the social construction of shared narratives 2.Time and Meaning – predecessors, contemporaries and successors 3.Social Reality – objective and subjective 4.Self and Modernity - multiphrenia

13 Durkheim Modern Social Experience Anomie a social condition characterised by the breakdown of norms governing social interaction Abercrombie et al Penguin Dictionary of Sociology

14 Post-Durkheim 1 Post Modernity = Anomic Division of Labour Post-Modernism 1.Modernity and Order – categories and classifications 2.From production to consumption- consumer culture 3.Consumerism- images and things 4.Time and Society – nostalgia and uncertainty 5.Self and Society – the playful self, the experimental self

15 Durkheim Modern Social Order Social Division of Labour Social Division of Labour The division of a workforce so that people specialise in particular task and the deliberate specialisation of complex tasks into their component parts. Bruce and Yearley, The Sage dictionary of Sociology it is the sole process which enables the necessities of social cohesion to be reconciled with the principle of individuation Durkheim The Division of Labour p.173

16 Post-Durkheim 2 (high)Modernity = Risk Society Giddens & reflexive modernity 1.Social reality – endless interchange between structure and agency 2.Modern structures – compression and extension of time and space 3.Modern agency – (organic) complexity leads to de- traditionalisation and reflexivity 4.High Modernity – uncertain and open outcomes; risk assessment; risk management; risk-shifting

17 Marx Modern Social Order Capital Any asset, financial or otherwise, that si itself a source of income or can be used to produce income Capitalism An economic system in which goods are produced for profit and sold in a free market. The means of production (including labour) are privately owned Bruce & Yearly The Sage dictionary of sociology

18 Post-Marx2 Modernity = circulation of multiple capitals Bourdieu 1.Economic capital - power 2.Social capital - influence 3.Cultural capital – prestige

19 Modernity = Global Society Globalisation 1.Global Economy – TNCs; free flow of resources 2.Global Politics – end of history?; end of nation-states? 3.Global Culture – internet; media; consumer images 4.Global Citizens - NSMs 5.Global Resistance – multiple globalisms; glocalisation

20 Revision Classes Thursday May 17 th 11-12, NK3 Friday May 18 th 11-12, NK3

21 Past Exam paper 1.Can modern societies be adequately thought of, as Parsons suggested, as complex structures composed of functionally interdependent parts? 2.Was Elias right to suggest that modern society is becoming increasingly civilised? 3.Assess the view that Western Marxist thinkers overemphasise the power of ruling class ideology over the working classes. 4.Assess the argument that Foucaults representation of modern society as a system of Panopticons is simplistic 5.With reference to phenomenological perspectives discuss the argument that we typically view our social reality as 'natural'? Bourdieu's account of class reproduction oversimplifies the nature of modern culture and society. Discuss. 6.Why might it be difficult to identify significant forms of Habermass Ideal Speech Community in modern society? 7.A truly postmodern society would be chaotic. Discuss. 8.Assess the adequacy of the argument, associated with Giddens and Beck, that the development of modernity leads to the creation of a risk society 9.Is globalization the same thing as the world-wide spread of capitalism?

22 SO3523Exam - Handy Hints Questions 1.Ten-ish questions (this does not mean there is a specific question for each weekly topic)- three answers; three hours = 60 minutes per answer. If you can answer three questions (roughly) equally well it makes sense to spend a roughly equal amount of time on each 2.Most questions refer to a specific topic – but this should not prevent you from discussing wider, relevant issues 3.No question demands a purely descriptive/ informative answer. There is always a problem for you to think about 4.You are not required to give a yes or no answer to the question. It is perfectly permissible to reach the conclusion that none of the arguments considered is wholly persuasive but some have greater strengths than others

23 Response to Exam Questions 1. Read the questions carefully. Do what it says on the tin. 2. Plan your answers carefully. Make your plan evident to the reader 3.Focus on the opportunity to discuss continuing themes in the course e.g. structure agency debate, the nature of modernity etc. If appropriate discuss these issues in more than one answer but avoid repetition. 4.Be wiling to think outside the box. If you are answering a question on e.g. Foucault you can refer to e.g. Bourdieu, Habermas etc to make a relevant point. That is, be willing to make connections within the course and with other courses 5.Ensure that you dont repeat chunks of your essay in the exam; its usually a sign you have wandered off the set question 6.Refer to the literature. 7.We need you to do well.

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