SOCI 437/537: Deciphering Our Social Worlds Report a Broken Link

The main objective of this course is to show students how social theory may be relevant to their own lives. Social theory can often help us clarify and sharpen our understanding of the social world in which we live. This is because social theory can help us place personal situations and private experiences into a much broader social picture.

Required Readings


Unit 1


Craib, Ian. “What’s Wrong with Theory and Why We Still Need It.” 1984. In Modern Social Theory from Parsons to Habermas. New York: St. Martins Press, 3-13. Reproduced with permission of PALGRAVE MACMILLAN (UK) in the format electronic usage via Copyright Clearance Center.
Craib, Ian. “Cutting a Path through the Jungle.” 1984. In Modern Social Theory from Parsons to Habermas. New York: St. Martins Press, 15-31. Reproduced with permission of PALGRAVE MACMILLAN (UK) in the format electronic usage via Copyright Clearance Center.
Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 1: What is sociological theory? [Video file].

Unit 2


Allan, Kenneth. “Chapter 10: Social Systems and their Environments: Niklas Luhmann.” 2006. In Contemporary Social and Sociological Theory: Visualizing Social Worlds, 213-238. London and New Delhi: Pine Forge Press. Reproduced with permission of SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC BOOKS in the format electronic usage via Copyright Clearance Center.
Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 2: Macrosociological theories of social order [Video file].

Unit 3


Turk, Austin. “Sociology of Terrorism.” August, 2004. Annual Review of Sociology Vol. 30: 271-286.
Goldstone, Jack A.   Theory Development in the Study of Revolutions (2002) in New Directions in Contemporary Social Theory,. edited by Joseph Berger and Maurice Zeldich Jr., Rowan and Littlefiled Publishers
Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 3: Macrosociological theories of social conflict [Video file].

Unit 4


Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 4: Marxism and neo-Marxism [Video file].

Unit 5


Michael Rosenfeld. “Habermas’s call for Cosmopolitan Constitutional Patriotism in an Age of Global Terror: A Pluralist Appraisal.” (2007). In Constellations, 14 (2): 159-181.
Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 5: Critical theory: Demystifying the social world [Video file].

Unit 6


Zarghooni, Sasan. A Study of Self-Presentation in Light of Facebook. (Autumn, 2007). Institute of Psychology, University of Oslo.
Charmaz, Kathy. A Future for Symbolic Interactionism. (2008) In Norman K. Denzin, James Salvo, Myra Washington (ed.), “Studies in Symbolic Interaction” Volume 32: 51-59.
Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 6: Symbolic interactionism [Video file].

Unit 7


Fishman, Pamela M, “Interaction: The Work Women Do.” Social Problems, April 1978, Vol. 25, No. 4, Pages 397-406.
Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 7: Ethnomethodology and exchange theory [Video file].

Unit 8


Sociobiology Study Group of Science for the People. Sociobiology—Another Biological Determinism. (March, 1976). In Bioscience 26 (3): 182+184-186.
Wilson, Edward O. The Response: Academic Vigilantism and the Political Significance of Sociobiology. (March, 1976). In BioScience 26 (3): 183+187-190.
Edwards, Jason. Evolutionary psychology and politics. (2001). In Economy and Society, 32 (2): 280-298.
Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 8: Sociobiology [Video file].

Unit 9


Snyder, R. Claire. What Is Third-Wave Feminism? A New Directions Essay. (2008). In Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society, 34 (1): 175-196.
Bryson, V. Marxism and feminism: can the ‘unhappy marriage’ be saved? (2004). In Journal of Political Ideologies, 9(1): 13-30.
Lengermann, Patricia Madoo, and Niebrugge-Brantley, Jill. “Feminist Sociological Theory: The Near-Future Prospects.” 1990. In Ritzer, George (Ed.)Frontiers of Social Theory, Chapter 12, 316-344. New York : Columbia University Press. Reproduced with permission of COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS in the format electronic usage via Copyright Clearance Center.
Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 9: Feminism [Video file].

Unit 10


Allan, Kenneth. “Chapter 14: Language on the Rocks.” 2006. In Contemporary Social and Sociological Theory, 311-330. Reproduced with permission of SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC BOOKS in the format electronic usage via Copyright Clearance Center.
Kellner, D. “The postmodern turn: Positions, problems, and prospects.” (1990). In G. Ritzer (Ed.), Frontiers of social theory, 255-286. New York: Columbia University Press. Reproduced with permission of SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC BOOKS in the format electronic usage via Copyright Clearance Center.
Epstein, Barbara. “Why Post-structuralism is a Dead End for Progressive Thought.” (1995). Socialist Review, vol. 25, no. 2, Center for Social Research & Education (San Francisco, Calif.) Reproduced with permission of RADICAL SOCIETY in the format electronic usage via Copyright Clearance Center.
Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 10: Postmodernism [Video file].

Unit 11


Goran Therborn. After Dialectics: Radical Social Theory in a Post-Communist World. (2007). New Left Review (43) 63-114. Read pp. 63-69 and 99/114.
Fopp, R. & Ellis, B. The future of sociology and ideological critique: Exploring Žižek and tolerance. (2009). In The Future of Sociology, TASA, 1-15, Canberra, Australia, The Australian Sociological Association 2009 Annual Conference.
Žižek, S. Welcome to the Desert of the Real! (2002). South Atlantic Quarterly, 101 (2): 385.
Žižek, Slavoj. Against Human Rights. (2005). New Left Review (34) 115-131.
Denyer, Martin. “What and where is post-colonial theory?”
Dhamoon, Rita and Abu-Laban, Yasmeen. Dangerous (Internal) Foreigners and Nation-Building: The Case of Canada. (2009). In International Political Science Review 30 (2), pp. 163-183.
Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 11: Postmillennial Social Theory [Video file].

Unit 12


Stein, Arlene and Plummer, Ken. I Can’t Even Think Straight: Queer Theory and the Missing Sexual Revolution in Sociology. (1994 ). Sociological Theory 12, 178-187.
Athabasca University. (2014). Unit 12: Standpoint theories [Video file].