Classical Sociological Theory
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Division: The New School for Social Research
Course Number: GSOC 5101
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: Yes
This course seeks to explore the relationship between the emergence of 'modernity' and the invention of 'social science.' Our readings include selections from a range of modern thinkers who created some of social sciences most memorable and influential narratives; we continue to use them today to make sense of our own world and each other’s place in it. We will focus on the following four thinkers and the various narratives that they created to make sense of modernity: Adam Smith on the impartial spectator and market society; Alexis de Tocqueville on revolutionary change and democratic life; Karl Marx on alienation and exploitation; Max Weber on social action and rationalization; Emile Durkheim on the socio-moral foundations of group life; Sigmund Freud on the libido and unconscious; and Georg Simmel on the nature of urban life and individualism. These authors, more than any other set of thinkers, were responsible for instituting the modern academic disciplines of economics, political science, radical criticism, sociology and psychology. These disciplines and the grand narratives that we now associate with each of them were far more than simply a mirror-like reflection of modernity; they were also constitutive of it and contributed to giving contoured shape and recognizable form to our own daily practices and forms of life.
Not open to Undergraduate students.