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Fall 2020 Semester Prague

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Course Overview

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SOC 200 Introduction to Social Theory

SOC 200 Introduction to Social Theory Course Overview

OVERVIEW

CEA Partner Institution: Anglo-American University
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Primary Subject Area: Sociology
Instruction in: English
Course Details: Level 200
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 42

DESCRIPTION

The goal of this course is to introduce social theory as the study of thinking about social life. Not only will students learn how to think as a social theorist, but they will also acquire intellectual capacity enabling them to unpack the social reality, which human individuals both co-constitute and are subjected to. Students will also understand why ideas about how societies change and develop comprise crucial instruments for the comprehension of and orientation in a modern age.

We will discuss canonical thinkers and address contemporary debates capturing complex problems associated with the fundamental question: what does it mean to live in a modern age? Exploring ambiguities and tensions between an individual human being and social structures, ideologies, technologies, forces and institutions accounts for the major organizational thread of the course. The opening part of the course will explore founding theorists and selected concepts, which are indispensable for understanding modernity. Then we will move on to questions around culture, surveillance and modern rationality. Some influential theories highlighting radical or other kind of break with modernity will be scrutinized and important questions around the continuity and change of the globalising economy will be tackled. Finally, the problem of 'the social' in the context of ubiquitous computing and digital technologies will be opened up and we will ask a very burning question that arguably characterises contemporary society: can we strictly delineate human society from digital technologies and increased computation/automation/robotification in which it is immersed? We will close the course by debating whether (or not) the world we live in accelerates and what it might mean for democracy and mental health.

The course is composed as historical survey or 'tour' outlining constitutive ideas in social thought by introducing influential social thinkers and (their) selected theories. Every week, we will be watching a film or documentary that directly or indirectly illustrates discussed themes.

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