SC901-7-SP-CO:
Topics in Contemporary Social Theory

The details
2020/21
Sociology
Colchester Campus
Spring
Postgraduate: Level 7
Current
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
20
23 June 2020

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

MA L30112 Sociological Research Methods,
MA L30012 Sociology,
MA L31812 Sociology and Criminology,
MSOCL399 Sociology,
MSOCLA40 Sociology (Including Placement Year),
MSOCLA41 Sociology (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module will engage with a broad range of questions, such as: How did modernity shape the idea of the social? How do contemporary theoretical and empirical developments challenge the modern idea of the social, as well as that of gender, power, bodies and identities? The last part of the course will be oriented around the issue of modern consumer culture and the commodity aesthetic, as well as contemporary challenges to that paradigm, such as postcolonial commodity culture, the culture of copies and an emerging pirate or ‘shanzhai’ modernity.

The first part of the course aims at providing a theoretical background to contextualize as well as think critically about the modern epoch through concepts such as ‘anthropocene’, ‘information society’, ‘biopolitics’, postcolonial theory, and body and materiality. In the second part of the module we will focus on empirical instances, popular cultures and new sexual politics in order to challenge the dominant ways of being modern that has largely remained a western construct.

Module aims

This module aims to give an overview of some of the most important and significant debates in contemporary social theory, while encouraging students to think analytically about theoretical questions and illustrating ways of doing so.

Module learning outcomes

The last part of the course will be oriented around the issue of modern consumer culture and the commodity aesthetic, as well as contemporary challenges to that paradigm, such as postcolonial commodity culture, the culture of copies and counterfeits and an emerging pirate or ‘shanzhai’ modernity. The module ends with a discussion on the future of social theory. Overall, the module engages with social and economic formations of the moderns and to critically think if we need alternative concepts for a more inclusionary politics in the twenty-first century.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

seminar

Bibliography*

  • Bonneuil, Christophe; Fressoz, Jean-Baptiste; Fernbach, David. (2017) The shock of the anthropocene: the earth, history and us, London: Verso.
  • Latour, Bruno. (1993) We have never been modern.
  • Castells, Manuel. (2000) 'Materials for an exploratory theory of the network society', in The British Journal of Sociology. vol. 51 (1) , pp.5-24
  • Harvey, David. (1989) The condition of postmodernity: an enquiry into the origins of cultural change, Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Foucault, Michel. (1990) The will to knowledge: the history of sexuality, volume 1, London: Penguin Books. vol. The history of sexuality
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. (c1990) Beyond good and evil: prelude to a philosophy of the future, London: Penguin Books. vol. Penguin classics
  • Robert Stam and Ella Shohat. (2012) 'Whence and whither postcolonial theory?', in New Literary History: The Johns Hopkins University Press. vol. 43, pp.371-390
  • Foucault, Michel; Bouchard, Donald F. (1977) Language, counter-memory, practice: selected essays and interviews, Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
  • Berman, Marshall. (2010) All that is solid melts into air: the experience of modernity, London: Verso.
  • Constantine V. Nakassis. (no date) 'Counterfeiting What? Aesthetics of Brandedness and BRAND in Tamil Nadu, India', in Anthropological Quarterly: The George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research.
  • Gilles Deleuze. (1992) 'Postscript on the Societies of Control', in October: The MIT Press. vol. 59, pp.3-7
  • Anderson, Perry. (1998) The origins of postmodernity, London: Verso.
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm; Smith, Douglas. (2008, 1998) On the genealogy of morals: a polemic : by way of clarification and supplement to my last book, Beyond good and evil, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Boothroyd, Dave. (1996-09) 'Labial feminism: Body against body with Luce Irigaray', in Parallax. vol. 2 (2) , pp.65-79
  • Foucault, Michel. (1990) The use of pleasure: volume 2 of The history of sexuality, New York: Vintage Books. vol. The history of sexuality
  • Popova, Milena. (2019) Sexual consent, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
  • Foucault, Michel. (1991, c1977) Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. vol. Penguin social sciences
  • Spivak, G. (1993) 'Can the subaltern speak?', in Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader.
  • Butler, Judith. (1999-04) 'Revisiting Bodies and Pleasures', in Theory, Culture & Society. vol. 16 (2) , pp.11-20
  • Latour, Bruno. (1993) We have never been modern, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
  • Lury, Celia. (2004) Brands: the logos of the global economy, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Foucault, Michel; Burchell, Graham; Gordon, Colin; Miller, Peter. (1991) The Foucault effect: studies in governmentality : with two lectures by, and an interview with, Michel Foucault, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Foucault, Michel; Rabinow, Paul. (c1984) The Foucault reader, Harmondsworth: Penguin. vol. Penguin social sciences
  • Immaterial Labor - Maurizio Lazzarato, http://www.generation-online.org/c/fcimmateriallabour3.htm
  • Bonneuil, Christophe; Fressoz, Jean-Baptiste; Fernbach, David. (©2017) The shock of the anthropocene: the earth, history and us, London: Verso.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Book Review     60% 
Coursework   Essay of 3000 words    40% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Maitrayee Deka, email: maitrayee.deka@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Maitrayee Deka
Michele Hall, Graduate Administrator, Telephone 01206 873051, Email: socpgadm@essex.ac.uk

 

Availability
Yes
No
Yes

External examiner

Prof Paul Stretesky
The University of Northumbria at Newcastle
Professor of Criminology
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 18 hours, 18 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Sociology

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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