Issues in Modern Sociological Theory
Instructor: Paul Gingrich, CL 217, 585-4196, firstname.lastname@example.org
Classes: Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m., CL431.
Office Hours: Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, Thursday,
1:00 - 2:00 p.m., or by appointment.
Go to http://leroy.cc.uregina.ca/~paulg
and click on Sociology 304 or
Assigments and Grading:
Each of the three sections of the class will have one short paper and an examination. The schedule of due dates for assignments and grading is as follows:
|February 19||Paper on Kymlicka||15 points|
|February 11||Midterm Examination on Kymlicka||15 points|
|March 19||Midterm Examination on Folbre||15 points|
|March 24||Paper on Folbre||15 points|
|April 28||Assignment on New Technologies||15 points|
|April 28||Final Examination on Stone and Kroker||15 points|
|Discussion and Participation||10 points|
Note: Students with special needs should identify themselves to the instructor as soon as possible.
An examination of selected controversial themes and issues concerning
the main concepts of sociology, the major tendencies of contemporary
sociological thought, and the historical antecedents of modern
theory. Current issues of sociological analysis and theory construction
will be stressed. Themes and issues to be dealt with will vary
from time to time as individual faculty members alternate in teaching
the course. The prerequisite is any 200-level course in sociology
or permission of department head.
In the Winter 1998 semester, three different
issues in contemporary society and social theory will be examined
- (i) multiculturalism and minority group rights, (ii) the costs
of social reproduction, and (iii) the virtual class and cyber-culture.
These issues will be organized around the three textbooks for
the class. While none of the three texts are by sociologists,
each presents an analysis of issues that should be
considered by those concerned
with the future of Canadian society.
First, the ideas of the Canadian political philosopher
Will Kymlicka will be examined. Minority group rights have often
been overlooked within liberal and other political theories and
are sometimes considered to be in opposition to individual rights.
In Multicultural Citizenship, Kymlicka argues that certain
minority rights are both consistent with and contribute to liberal
democracy. The issues that Kymlicka examines are especially relevant
in Canada today, where bilingualism and multiculturalism, as well
as the rights of first nations, are important issues.
The second section of the class will examine issues related to
the costs of social reproduction, as distinct from the costs of
production. Folbre, the author of Who Pays for the Kids? is
an economist who presents a feminist analysis of social reproduction,
an approach that is to be distinguished from both neoclassical and
Marxist political economic analysis. In the class we will discuss
how individuals, groups and societies reproduce population, labour
force, and social structure. These will be discussed in the context
of Folbre's theories of family labour, patriarchal power, structures
of constraint, individual and group choice, sources of collective
action, and economic development.
In the concluding section of the class, we will discuss some of
the social issues related to the new technologies, virtuality, and
cyberspace. These will be approached at two levels: (i)
through the theory of the virtual class, as laid out by the Canadian
postmodern political and social theorist Arthur Kroker, and (ii)
through the stories and theoretical approach of Allucquère
Rosanne Stone. Kroker presents a broad overall view of the powerful
virtual class that has emerged on the basis of new technologies,
where the will to virtuality "becomes the primal impulse
of pan-capitalism, the mediascape, and post-history." Through
a series of stories and theoretical arguments, Stone examines
how individuals create new forms of identities as they work and
play with the new technologies.
This page was last edited on March 3, 1998.
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