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Social Theory SI0066 2017-18 ESSAY QUESTIONS
1. Critically assess the theory of the ‘individual’ in the work of Durkheim and Goffman
2. Compare and contrast Weber’s theory of the rationalisation process with Bauman’s more contemporary theory of liquid modernity.
3. Compare and contrast Durkheim’s theory of morality with Bauman’s ‘postmodern ethics’.
4. Compare and contrast Marcuse and Foucault’s understanding of the relationship between sexuality, power and social control.
5. Critically examine Foucault’s claim that ‘we must cease once and for all to describe the effects of power in negative terms’ (1977: 194).
6. Compare and contrast Bourdieu’s account of the role of the ‘Kantian aesthetic’ in social reproduction, with the Frankfurt School’s theory of art and culture.
7. According to Berger and Luckmann (1967: 30) ‘The central question for sociological theory’ is: ‘How is it possible that subjective meanings become objective facticities?’ How does the phenomenological tradition in social theory help us answer this question?
8. Focusing either on the discourse of ‘work’, or the discourse of ‘consumption’, assess the usefulness of the concept of ‘ideology’ to understanding social reproduction in contemporary capitalist societies.
9. What social theory, or theories, studied on this module, can help make sense of what Lane (2000) calls the ‘loss of happiness’ in affluent consumer societies?