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Division of Sociology
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
HS2001 Classical Social Theory
AY 2014/15 Sem 1
Asst Professor Teo You Yenn
Tel: 6316 8933
Email: [email protected]
Office: HSS-05-46 (consultations by appointment)
Mailbox: HSS-05-32
Tutor: Adlina Maulod
Email: [email protected]
Lecture
Tutorials
Day / Time / Venue
Tuesdays /930-1130am/ HSS Auditorium
Tuesdays/1230, 130, 230, 330, 430 Wednesdays/430, 530
COURSE DESCRIPTION
Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim’s work form the foundations of contemporary
sociological thinking and research. This course explores the theoretical foundations of
Sociology through an examination of some of their key writings.
You will encounter Marx, Durkheim and Weber many times throughout your time as a
Sociology student. You will likely learn that they had much to say about many disparate
topics. In this course, we will consider how they dealt with three specific questions:
1. What is society?
2. What are the central problems of society?
3. Where is society headed and how will it get there?
By the end of the semester, you should have some basic understanding of these theorists and
key elements of their approaches to the study of society. You should also be able to compare
and contrast their perspectives. This course will prepare you for more advanced courses. It
will also set the foundation for thinking about research design in the methodology courses
and your Graduation Project.
HS2001 Classical Social Theory, AY2014/15 Sem 1
COURSE REQUIREMENTS
This is a class designed for Sociology majors. To do well in this course, you will need to
attend all lectures and tutorials.
Keeping up with the weekly readings is crucial. We will be reading mostly primary texts
(translations). These are dense and will require close reading as well as revisiting. You
should plan on spending 4-6 hours per week on the readings. In the course outline, there are
questions posed for each week; you should pay particular attention to these questions. All
readings should be completed by the time of lectures.
You are strongly encouraged to write weekly memos. Set aside half an hour after each
week’s lecture to write down what you have learnt from the texts and the questions that arise
from them. You may write about key terms/phrases, definitions, or even outline the main
arguments in the week’s texts. You may also use the orienting questions posed each week as
a starting point. These memos will get you in the habit of articulating theoretical concepts;
these are important skills for the midterm and final exams and will also help you participate
more effectively in class discussions.
All books listed in this syllabus are available at the HSS library. The assigned chapters/pages
will be posted on EdveNTUre. You are required to purchase Emile Durkheim’s The Division
of Labor in Society.
Your grade will be based on the following:
1. Midterm exam (35%)
The midterm exam will test your understanding of key terms and arguments covered up to
that point in the semester (Marx and Weber). You will be asked to answer short descriptive
questions as well as essay questions. If you miss the exam for legitimate and documented
reasons, you will be asked to write a term paper in lieu; there will not be a make-up exam.
2. Attendance and participation (15%)
The success of the class depends on your active and informed engagement. Please make an
effort to come to class on time, prepared to raise questions and share your insights. During
class, please refrain from using your electronic devices for purposes other than taking notes.
You will be evaluated based on your attendance, as well as the quality and consistency of
your participation in class (particularly in tutorials).
On some weeks, I will ask you to bring in materials or otherwise prepare some ideas and/or
writings ahead of time.
3. Final examination (50%)
The final examination will consist of essay questions, covering the entire semester’s material.
Students are expected to grasp key concepts and be able to use specific examples discussed in
the course to illustrate them. You will also be expected to be able to compare and contrast the
three theorists.
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HS2001 Classical Social Theory, AY2014/15 Sem 1
WEEKLY SCHEDULE
1. 12 AUGUST
* NO TUTORIALS THIS WEEK*
Introduction: What is classical social theory and why does it matter?
As you read Fernandez, consider: what is social theory? What are theories good for?
As you read Adler and Van Doren, think about what techniques you will use to read
throughout this semester. Make a list of things you will do in tackling your reading
assignments.
•
•
Introduction in Fernandez, Ronald. 2003. Mappers of society: the lives, times, and legacies of
great sociologists. London: Praeger Publishers.
Pp. 45-136 Adler, Mortimer, and Charles Van Doren. 1972. How to read a book. New York:
Touchstone.
2. 19 AUGUST
KARL MARX (1818-1883)
What is society?
Marx’s views on human nature, the importance of labor/production, materialist conception
of history
In this week’s readings, think about these questions (and note page numbers for your
answers): how does Marx think about human nature? What is labour/production, and why
is it important to human beings? How do we develop ideas/knowledge about the world
we live in?
•
•
“Speech at the Graveside of Karl Marx,” by Friedrich Engels, pp. 681-2 in Tucker, Robert C.,
Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels. 1978. The Marx-Engels Reader. New York: Norton.
“The German Ideology,” pp.146-163 in The Marx-Engels Reader.
Recommended:
• Chapter 1 in Fernandez, Ronald. 2003. Mappers of society: the lives, times, and legacies of great
sociologists. London: Praeger Publishers.
• “Theses on Feuerbach,” pp. 143-145 in Tucker, Robert C., Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels.
1978. The Marx-Engels reader. New York: Norton.
• “Marx on the History of His Opinions,” pp. 3-6 in The Marx-Engels Reader.
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HS2001 Classical Social Theory, AY2014/15 Sem 1
3. 26 AUGUST
What are the central problems of society?
Marx’s critique of capitalism: of exploitation and alienation
In this week’s readings, think about these questions (and note page numbers for your
answers): What does production/labour look like under capitalism? What are the
characteristics of the working class? What are the characteristics of the bourgeoisie? How
is the capitalist system exploitative?
•
•
“Wage Labour and Capital,” pp. 203-217 in The Marx-Engels-Reader.
“Estranged Labour,” pp. 70-77 in The Marx-Engels-Reader.
4. 2 SEPTEMBER
Where is society headed and how will it get there?
Marx on class struggle, communist revolution and socialist utopia
In this week’s readings, think about these questions (and note page numbers for your
answers): what are key contradictions under capitalism? What are the conditions
necessary for socialism/communism? What will life look like in communist societies?
•
•
•
•
“Preface to the Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy,” pp.3-6 in The MarxEngels Reader.
“Socialism: Utopian and Scientific,” pp.700-717 in The Marx-Engels Reader.
“Manifesto of the Communist Party,” pp. 473-91 in The Marx-Engels Reader.
Basu, Radha. 2011. “The ST Interview: ‘There's nothing uniquely S'porean about inequality’”
The Straits Times. September 14.
Recommended:
• Reread “The German Ideology,” pp. 160-163 in The Marx-Engels Reader.
• “Inaugural Address of the Working Men’s International Association,” pp. 512-519 in
The Marx-Engels Reader.
5. 9 SEPTEMBER
MAX WEBER (1864-1920)
What is society?
The protestant ethic thesis
In this week’s readings, think about these questions (and note page numbers for your
answers): what is the protestant ethic? What is the spirit of capitalism? What are the
connections between the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism?
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HS2001 Classical Social Theory, AY2014/15 Sem 1
•
•
Introduction by Randall Collins, pp. vii-xxxiii in Weber, Max. 1992 [1930]. The Protestant ethic
and the spirit of capitalism. Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company.
Chapters 2, 3 and 5 in The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.
6. 16 SEPTEMBER
** Field exercise: students will be required to conduct observations at a fast food
restaurant in preparation for next week’s class **
What are the central problems of society?
Legitimate Domination
In this week’s readings, think about these questions (and note page numbers for your
answers): for Weber, what is legitimacy? What are the characteristics of rational,
traditional, and charismatic authority?
•
READ ONLY pp. 212-231, 241-45: “The Types of Legitimate Domination,” in Weber, Max,
Guenther Roth, and Claus Wittich. 1978. Economy and society: an outline of interpretive
sociology. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Recommended:
• “Legitimate Order,” pp. 31-36 in Weber, Max, Guenther Roth, and Claus Wittich. 1978.
Economy and society: an outline of interpretive sociology. Berkeley: University of California
Press.
• “Power and Domination,” pp. 53-54 in Economy and society.
7. 23 SEPTEMBER
Where is society headed and how will it get there?
Bureaucracy and the iron cage
This week, you will read Weber’s writings on bureaucracy as well as Ritzer’s
contemporary take on the implications of increased rationalization. In reading Weber,
consider: what are the characteristics of bureaucracy? What is the iron cage? In reading
Ritzer, think about: what does he list as key features of bureaucracy? How does he talk
about Weber’s concept of rationality? What does he see as consequences of
rationalization?
•
•
•
“Bureaucracy,” READ ONLY pp.196-204 in Weber, Max (Ed.). 2009. From Max Weber:
Essays in Sociology. London and New York: Routledge.
Review Chapter 5 in The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.
Chapters 1, 2, 7 in Ritzer, George. 2011. The McDonaldization of Society 6. Los Angeles: Pine
Forge Press.
** RECESS 29 SEPT to 3 Oct **
5
HS2001 Classical Social Theory, AY2014/15 Sem 1
8. 7 OCTOBER
** IN-CLASS MIDTERM EXAM **
** NO TUTORIALS THIS WEEK **
9. 14 OCTOBER
EMILE DURKHEIM (1858-1917)
What is society?
Durkheim on Sociology as science
In this week’s readings, think about these questions (and note page numbers for your
answers): what are social/moral facts? How do we study society? What is the division of
labor, and is it a normal feature of societies?
•
Preface to First Edition (pp.xxv-xxx), Introduction (1-8) and Book I Chapter I (11-30) to
Durkheim, Emile, and W. D. Halls. 1997 [1893]. The division of labor in society. New York:
Free Press.
10. 21 OCTOBER
What are the central problems of society?
The division of labor and the transition from mechanical to organic solidarity
In this week’s readings, think about these questions (and note page numbers for your
answers): What is a crime? What is the function of punishment? What is the form of
punishment? What are the characteristics of mechanical solidarity? What are the
characteristics of organic solidarity? What happens to the collective consciousness under
organic solidarity?
•
Book I Chapter II (31-67), Chapter III (68-87), Chapter VII (149-175) Book II Chapter II (200225) in The division of labor in society.
Recommended:
• Chapter 2 in Fernandez, Ronald. 2003. Mappers of society: the lives, times, and legacies of great
sociologists. London: Praeger Publishers.
11. 28 OCTOBER
Where is society headed and how will it get there?
Abnormal forms of division of labor; the importance of morality
In this week’s readings, think about these questions (and note page numbers for your
answers): What is anomic division of labor? What is forced division of labor? What is
morality and why is it important?
6
HS2001 Classical Social Theory, AY2014/15 Sem 1
•
Book III Chapters I, II and III (291-328) and Conclusion (329-341) in The division of labor in
society.
12. 4 NOVEMBER
Critiquing Marx, Weber and Durkheim
•
Readings to be assigned
13. 11 NOVEMBER
•
•
Catch up on any uncompleted readings
Review your memos and lecture notes
In reviewing your notes and readings, think again about the three big questions we posed:
for each of the theorists, what is society (and how should it be studied)? What were the
central problems of society they were concerned about? Where did they think society was
headed and how did they see the process of change?
FINAL EXAM: Monday, 24 November, 1-330pm
7