Foundations of Social Theory II
The course provides a broad theoretical foundation on which students can pursue further intellectual study and empirical research. We will place a special emphasis on the connection between social theories and their privileged methods. Important topics include, among others, patterns of social interaction and socialization, the strengths and weaknesses of the taken-for granted, the concept of social space and social trajectories within it, commonalities and differences between various forms of domination, and the constitutive power of expert knowledge. There is no way to cover all of modern and contemporary social theory in one semester, and it would be pedagogically irresponsible to try to do so. We will cover a number of the major schools of thought, focusing on contemporary American and European sociology, but the ultimate goal is to help you learn how to read and explore theory on your own. We will discuss the specifics of the readings, digging deep into the theories, but we will also discuss strategies around how to read theory and how to approach theory-building through empirical research.