Course detail

Introduction to sociological thinking

FaVU-1SU-1Acad. year: 2019/2020

The course offers an introduction to contemporary sociological thinking through selected texts. Their selection combines authors / works that can be considered representative and at the same time reader-friendly. Discussions on selected chapters will be framed by introductions to wider contexts. The course seeks to develop sociological imagination, to inspire the use of sociological concepts (rather than provide with the basics of sociological knowledge).

Learning outcomes of the course unit

Students will get a basic overview of current discussions in sociological conceptualization of contemporary societies. By reading and interpreting selected texts they will demonstrate the ability to cope with the sociological writings and show ability to relate it to relevant context. They will be able to apply concepts from texts to the issues of culture and art.

Prerequisites

Basic knowldge of social sciences. Critical thinking.

Co-requisites

Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

BAUMAN, Zygmunt: Úvahy o postmoderní době. SLON, Praha, 1995. (CS)
GIDDENS, Anthony: Důsledky modernity. Praha: Slon, 1998. (CS)
BECK, Ulrich: Riziková společnost. Na cestě k jiné moderně. SLON, Praha 2011. (CS)
BAUMAN, Zygmunt: Individualizovaná společnost. Praha Mladá Fronta, 2004. (CS)
SIMMEL, Georg: Peníze v moderní kultuře a jiné eseje. SLON, Praha 1997. (CS)
BERGER, Peter, L., LUCKMANN, Thomas: Sociální konstrukce reality. Pojednání o sociologii vědění. CDK Brno, 1999. (CS)
MANNHEIM, Karl: Ideologie a utopie. Archa, Bratislava, 1991. (CS)
MERTON, Robert, King: Studie ze sociologické teorie, 2007. (CS)
BOURDIEU: Teorie jednání. Karolinum Praha, 1998. (CS)
MAFFESOLI, Michel: O nomádství. PROSTOR, Praha, 2002. (CS)
BELL, Daniel: Kulturní rozpory kapitalismu. SLON, Praha 1999. (CS)
HABERMAS, Jurgen: Problém legitimity v pozdním kapitalismu. Filosofia, Praha, 2000. (CS)
LATOUR, Bruno: Stopovat a skládat světy s Bruno Latourem. Výbor z textů 1998_2013. Tranzit, Praha, 2016. (CS)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Lectures combined with seminars where selected texts are discussed.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Credit is awarded on the basis of completed attendance (70 %), active participation in seminars and submission of essay.

Language of instruction

Czech

Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1. Process of modernization, reflexive or high modernity and postmodernism. Classical thematizations of the society from the end of the last millennium (what is still valid today?)
2. Analysis of the transformations of the contemporary society (especially in the dimension of perception of time and space: the concept of space-time unloading) with an emphasis on trust and risk issues.
3. Variability (uncertainty of events) as key aspects of contemporary societies. Strategies (institutional and individual) to deal with uncertainty.
4. Individual and society. The economic dimension of individual existence and its political conditions (consumer vs. citizen, erosion of public). Thematization of trust and cooperative practices from below.
5. Thematization of modern culture as a "culture of crisis" – the dilemma of form and life. In his essayistic writing from the beginning of the last century Simmel was recognized as the precursor of postmodern relativism (essays such as Adventure, Frame, Bridge, and Gateway are an Introduction to Art Sociology).
6. Society and knowledge I. Constructivist approach in sociological thought (aesthetics represented, for example, by Goodman); critique of essentialism and the concept of relationalism (Bourdieu).
7. Society and knowledge II. Knowledge as power (discourse, or Foucault's episthemic concept) in the polarity of critique, affirmation, and eschatology. The loss of utopia, which is emphasized by contemporary thinking, is usually associated with aesthetics.
8. Social action as a key concept of the analysis of society and its culture. In addition to Weber's theme of rationality and criticism of instrumental reason, Durkheim's anomie and concept of externality, developed in structural functionalism, is an important subject.
9. The concept of the game as one of today's most influential solutions to the "structure-negotiation" dilemma. Introductory concepts for Bourdieu's arts field analysis (habitus / field, ilusio, cultural reproduction, capital). Alternatively, play in a philosophical and aesthetic context (Schiller-Gadamer), in culturology (Huizinga, Callois).
10. The breakdown of the traditional structure of society (atomization) described by previous authors (Beck) has some solutions in sociology of culture, for example in the notion of "neotribe" and nomadic constitution of the actor (Maffesoli vs. subculture theorists from Hebdige to Thornton).
11. The specific features of modernity include the division of culture and society. The brilliant theorist of the "post-industrial society" demonstrates it on historical material. An unusually critical (or skeptical) view of modern art from the perspective of sociology raises the issue of the function of art and the role of subjectivity.
12. With the growth of possibilities (by science and technology, especially communication and media, new forms of discussion of political culture are taking place.) Habermas' communication rationality as an attempt to read the inheritance of the Enlightenment predominantly positively.
13. Actant-network theory (as well as the concept of social capital) is one of the most discussed concepts of the late 1990s. Latour’s texts are extraordinarily inspiring by their ability to amalgamate scientific and theological thinking with aesthetic concepts and erudition of the history.

Aims

The aim of the course is to make students acquainted with the current diagnoses of the time as are to be found in the texts of world sociology. These are selected to show the broadest range of problems and their reflections.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

Compulsory attendance (at least 70 %].

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme VUB Bachelor's

    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 2 credits, elective

Type of course unit

 

Lecture

13 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer

Seminar

13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer