Sociology 319 Contemporary Social Theories

Winter 2006


Instructor: Paul Gingrich

Office: CL217

Telephone: 585-4196

Fax: 585-4815




Classes: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 11:30 a.m. 12:20 p.m., ED542

Office hours: Monday, 1:00 2:00 p.m., Thursday, 10:00 11:00 a.m., or by appointment.


Text and readings


Bert N. Adams and R. A. Sydie. 2002. Contemporary Sociological Theory. Thousand Oaks, California, Pine Forge Press. Referred to as CST.


Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth. 2003. Redistribution or Recognition? A Political-Philosophical Exchange. London, Verso. HM671 F713 Referred to as RR.


Additional assigned readings will be provided as class handouts. I will also place additional readings on reserve in the University Library or provide links through the web site.


Assignments and Grading

First short paper 15% February 13

Midterm examination 20% March 1 and 3

Second short paper 15% March 20

Third short paper 15% April 24

Final examination 25% April 24 (9:00 a.m. 12 noon)

Discussion and participation 10%

Total 100%



Faculty of Arts Academic Announcements


Calendar description


The course provides an overview of the development of sociological theories through the 20th century into the 21st century. Prerequisite: Two 200-level sociology courses, one of which must be Sociology 280 or 290, or permission of department head.


Tentative class outline





January 11-13

Introduction and review of classical theory

CST, Ch. 1, 7

January 16-20


CST, Ch. 2. Parsons, Merton

January 23-27

Critical theory

CST, Ch. 4. Habermas, Marcuse

Jan. 30- Feb. 3

Marxism and world systems

CST, Ch. 5-6, Wright, Wallerstein

February 6-10

Symbolic interactionism (SI)

CST, 164-179. Blumer, Goffman

February 13-17

SI and ethnomethodology

CST, 179-186. Hochschild, Garfinkel

February 20-25

Mid-term break


Feb. 27 March 3

Systems and structures

CST, Ch. 3. Giddens

March 6-10

Rational choice theory

CST, Ch. 9. Coleman


Feminist sociological theory

CST, Ch. 10. Smith, Collins

March 20-24

Knowledge and power

CST, Ch. 11. Foucault, Baudrillard

March 27-31

Fraser and Honneth

RR, 1-109

April 3-7

Fraser and Honneth

RR, 110-267

April 10-12


CST, Ch. 12

April 24, 9-noon

Final examination




Last edited January 14, 2006