Foundations of Modern Social Theory

About the Course

This course provides an overview of major works of social thought from the beginning of the modern era through the 1920s. Attention is paid to social and intellectual contexts, conceptual frameworks and methods, and contributions to contemporary social analysis. Writers include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Marx, Weber, and Durkheim.

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Course Structure

This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Fall 2009.

Course Materials

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About Professor Iván Szelényi

Iván Szelényi is Dean of Social Sciences at NYU Abu Dhabi. When "Foundations of Modern Social Theory" was recorded for Open Yale Courses, he was William Graham Sumner Professor of Sociology and Professor of Political Science at Yale. Professor Szelenyi, who specializes in the comparative study of social stratification across cultures over time, received his Ph.D. from Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1973, and is the author of The Intellectuals on the Road to Class PowerUrban Inequalities Under State SocialismSocialist EntrepreneursMaking Capitalism Without Capitalists,Poverty, Ethnicity and Gender in Eastern Europe During the Market Transition (with R. Emigh), and Theories of the New Class: Intellectuals and Power (with L. King, 2004). His most recent book Patterns of Exclusion was published in 2006 and was awarded the Karl Polanyi Prize.

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Syllabus

Professor

Iván Szelényi, William Graham Sumner Professor of Sociology (Emeritus)

Description

This course provides an overview of major works of social thought from the beginning of the modern era through the 1920s. Attention is paid to social and intellectual contexts, conceptual frameworks and methods, and contributions to contemporary social analysis. Writers include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Marx, Weber, and Durkheim.

Texts

Durkheim, Émile. The Division of Labor. New York: The Free Press, 1984.

Durkheim, Émile. The Rules of Sociological Method. New York: The Free Press, 1966.

Durkheim, Émile. Suicide. New York: The Free Press, 1951.

Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. Translated by James Strachey. New York: W.W. Norton, 1961.

Freud, Sigmund. The Ego and Id. New York: W.W. Norton, 1960.

Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Edited by Crawford Brough Macpherson. Penguin Classics, 1985.

Locke, John. "Second Treatise of Government," in Two Treatises of Government. Edited by Peter Laslett. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Marx, Karl. Capital. Vol. 1. Translated by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling. Edited by Frederick Engels. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1912.

Marx, Karl. Capital. Vol 3. Translated by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling. Edited by Frederick Engels. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1967.

Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels. Collected Works. Vols. 1, 3, 5, 6. Translated by Richard Dixon et al. New York: International Publishers, 1975-1976.

Marx, Karl. Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations. Translated by Jack Cohen. New York: International Publishers, 1965.

Mill, John Stuart. The Subjection of Women. Edited by Susan Moller Okin. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1988.

Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism, On Liberty. London: Everyman, 1993.

Montesquieu, Charles de. The Spirit of the Laws. Translated and edited by Anne M. Cohler, Basia Carolyn Miller, and Harold Samuel Stone. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Genealogy of Morality. Edited by Keith Ansell-Pearson. Translated by Carol Diethe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Émile, or On Education. Introduction and translation by Allan Bloom. New York: Basic Books, 1979.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Of the Social Contract, in The Social Contract and Other Later Political Writings. Edited and translated by Victor Gourevitch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Edited by Edwin Cannan. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1976.

Weber, Max. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. 2 vols. Edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.

Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by Talcott Parsons with a new introduction by Anthony Giddens. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, NY, 1958.

Requirements

Exams
There are three tests. A week before each test, students receive a list of not more than ten questions. At 8:00 p.m. on the day of the test, three out of these ten questions are emailed to students, who are then required to submit short-essay responses by 9:00 p.m. by email to their discussion section leaders. Each of the three responses is approximately 2 pages in length.

Essay
Students are required to write one essay, approximately 6-8 pages long. Students receive recommended essay questions in the discussion groups by the end of the third week of the quarter.

Grading

Participation in discussion sections: 10%
Tests: 20% each 
Essay: 30%

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Course Books and Other Related Titles

Yale University Press offers a 10% discount on the books used in SOCY 151 that it publishes, as well as on other related titles. A portion of the proceeds from your purchases will be donated for the ongoing support and development of the Open Yale Courses program.

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