This module introduces the development of social theory from the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century to contemporary debates about the character of knowing. This module will introduce important models developed by classical social theorists (and especially Marx, Weber, Durkheim and Simmel) for analysing modern societies and considers how they have been adapted, updated, or displaced by recent social theories. It explores how these theories have been shaped by social and political change in eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century Europe. Particular stress is placed on relating theories to contemporary social life. You will critically consider different current understandings of the role of social theory as privileged knowledge, tool of social control, ideology, and discourse. You will explore critically the theme of everyday life in modernity.
This module offers the opportunity to learn skills in reading, analysing, comparing, and critically evaluating major social theories of the rise of modern societies.