Answer each of the three parts of the examination – within
each part you have choices.The
examination has a total of 100 points.
A. Short Answer.Select three
of the following topics and briefly explain.
(3 x 15 = 45 points).
text, Abell lists three assumptions of rational choice theory.Briefly explain these.
choice theory is usually considered an extreme individually-based
approach.Yet Coleman argues that
collective action emerges from rational choice.Explain his approach.
to Erik Olin Wright’s version of rational choice Marxism, exploitation can
emerge in ways other than extracting surplus labour from workers.Explain.
two problematic aspects of the sex-gender distinction.
may form a sexual class.Explain
what this means and comment on the sociological usefulness of such an
do critical theorists mean when they argue that modern, capitalist,
democratic societies are totalitarian?
or provide examples of how Frankfurt school
theorists extended the concept of commodity
exchange beyond that of Marxism.
does Habermas mean by distorted communication and comment on its
theorists view identity differently than earlier social theorists.Explain or provide an example.
B.Quote.Select one of the quotes on
the attached page.Write a short
explanation of the quote, discuss the concepts in the quote and show how the
ideas in the quote relate to the perspective of the author and other relevant
sociological theory. (20 points).
C. Essay.Select one
of the following topics and write an essay on this topic.
how some Marxist-feminist writers address feminist critiques of Marxist
social theory and incorporate feminist approaches into Marxism.
how Marcuse uses elements from earlier social theorists to build a model
of modern society as one-dimensional.
is central to the social analysis of Habermas.Explain how Habermas deals with issues
that concerned earlier social theorists, but addresses them through his
theory of communicative action.
is an overriding concern of critical theorists and rational choice
theory.Describe and compare their
why feminist social theorists might be critical of Frankfurt
school theorists (critical theory) or rational choice theory.
theorists convincingly critique earlier social theory but their
explanations of social issues that concerned earlier theorists are less
convincing.”Comment and critique.
critical and postmodern theorists attempt to explain the contemporary
social world, but in different ways.Analyze similarities and differences in their approach.
theoretical approach of Habermas may provide a means of avoiding the
seemingly pessimistic outlook of earlier critical theorists or
Quotes for part B.
Coleman.A major strategy taken by actors in
attempting to internalize norms in another actor is to do so by modifying
the self whose interestes that actor will attempt to maximize by his
actions.This is an indirect
strategy, for it does not attempt to inculcate directly the belief that
certain actions are right and others wrong.The strategy is to change the self and
let the new self decide what is right and what is wrong …from James Coleman, Foundations of
Social Theory, middle of p. 291.
Marcuse.Today this private space has been
invaded and whittled down by technological reality.Mass production and mass distribution
claim the entire individual, and industrial psychology has long
since ceased to be confined to the factory.The manifold processes of introjection
seem to be ossified into almost mechanical reactions.The result is, not adjustment but mimesis:
an immediate identification of the individual with his society and,
through it, with the society as a whole.From Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man, 2nd
complete paragraph, p. 10.
Baudrillard.Were the TwinTowers destroyed, or did they
collapse?Let us be clear about
this: the two towers are both physical, architectural object and a
symbolic object (symbolic of financial power and global economic
object was destroyed, but it was the symbolic object which was targeted,
and which it was intended to demolish.One might think the physical destruction brought about the symbolic
collapse.But in fact no one, not
even the terrorists, had reckoned on the total destruction of the
towers.It was, in fact, their
symbolic collapse that brought about their physical collapse, not the
other way around.From Jean Baudrillard,
The Spirit of Terrorism and Requiem for
Habermas.Since moralities are tailored to suit
the fragility of human beings individuated through socialization, they
must always solve twotask at once.They must emphasize the inviolability of
the individual by postulating equal respect for the dignity of each
individual.But they must also
protect the web of intersubjective relations of mutual recognition by
which these individuals survive as members of a community.To these two complementary aspects correspond the principles of justice and solidarity
respectively.The first postulates
equal respect and equal rights for the individual, whereas the second
postulates empathy and concern for the well-being of one’s neighbor.From Jürgen Habermas, Moral
Consciousness and Communicative Action, middle of p. 200.