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Sociology

 

Choose TWO of the theorists discussed or assigned during the second part of the course (Freud, Horkheimer, Benjamin, Horkheimer/Adorno, Marcuse, Parsons) and compare them in terms of how they made a distinction between how society appears to human beings living in the everyday world, and how sociologists view the social world. Were they influenced by any of the classical theorists (Marx, Durkheim, and/or Weber)? If so, which ones? Did they emphasize particular aspects of social reality to make their point(s)? Provide at least one example. Were the two theorists critical and/or sociological theorists? (if you?re using Freud: do you regard him as a sociological or a critical theorist?)

? Modern society as artifice: look up definitions of ?artifice?. How does this term apply to sociology in general, and to your choice of theorists and mediations, in particular? Consider the following: according to classical sociological theory, the foundation of modern society consists of three processes of mediation: alienation, anomie, Protestant ethic; they mediate between economic forms on the one hand, and political, cultural, and social forms on the other hand. As a combination of the spread of the capitalist mode of production, the emergence of market economies, the formation of the nation-state, and the establishment of industrialization, the modern social world is separated from ?nature? ? it is an artificial world that operates according to strange principles that are difficult to understand and which are not accessible to individuals. Yet, how can individuals take control to their own lives, in such circumstances? Put differently, how is agency possible in the artifice? Although Nada (in They Live) reacts violently to realizing that the world is not what he thought, is this really an option? Moreover, how can sociologists as social analysts and diagnosticians confront this and related challenges?and what can we tell people in everyday life about how to deal with ?the modern condition??

? Choose ONE classical and one contemporary concept of mediation (CLASSICAL: alienation: Marx, commodity fetishism: Marx, anomie: Durkheim, Protestant ethic: Weber, CONTEMPORARY: sublimation: Freud, instrumental reason: Benjamin, Horkheimer, and Horkheimer/Adorno, or system: Parsons) and explain in your own words how it can serve as a means to explain the tension between how individuals experience everyday life, and how sociologists analyze society. Use at least one example that makes sense to you (it can be taken from history or from the present; from the world of work, or from art, music, movies, or television). How does your example illustrate the function of critical theory?

 
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