Sociology | Social Theory
S340 | 4089 | Virk

COAS W333.

In the course of our lives, we are constantly confronted with
questions about ourselves as social beings—as individuals knit
together in bonds of sociality.  Yet, we find that we have very
different interpretations of some of these questions:  What is
society?  What are the forces that hold it together (or not)?  On
what bases do individuals associate?  What motivates social action?
In this class, we will engage some of these questions about social

This course is designed as an introduction to some of the theories
that have shaped the practice of sociology.  Although the focus will
be on the work of the major classical sociological thinkers –
Durkheim, Weber and Marx – we will also attempt to situate these
theorists within the larger development of social thought.  Despite
a common misperception, you will find that theorizing is not as much
of an individualistic project as it seems.  In fact, most theorizing
is the product of a constant debate with the ideas of each thinker’s
predecessors and contemporaries.  This makes it necessary for us to
understand the historical and intellectual climate within which
different theorists developed their thought.

While designed to give you a solid background in sociological
theory, it is my hope that this opportunity to read a wide range of
theoretical texts will stimulate new and different ways of thinking
about yourself and society.