Soc 1


Information for supervisees on Soc1 (Modern Societies)

In Michaelmas, we will have three supervisions.

The topics, dates and readings for supervisions are listed below. Included are links to “additional material”  – note that this is not mandatory, but is meant to provide additional input/resources that should facilitate your understanding of the particular theoretical framework/author.

Supervision 1: Marx and marxism

18 October 2016

Essay topic: According to Marx, what are the evils of capitalism, and what is the contemporary relevance of his critique?

Readings (as specified in the course syllabus)

Allen, K. 2011. Marx and the Alternative to Capitalism. London: Pluto.
Aron, R. 1965. Main Currents in Sociological Thought 1. London: Penguin, pp. 111-182 (chap- ter 3).
Avineri, S. 1968. The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni- versity Press.
Berlin, A. 1978. Karl Marx. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Elster, J. 1986. An Introduction to Karl Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Eagleton, T. 2011. Why Marx was Right. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Kolakowski, L. 1978. Main Currents of Marxism 1: The Founders. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
* Marx, K. 1977 ‘Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts’, ‘German Ideology’, ‘Communist Manifesto’ and ‘Grundrisse’ in Karl Marx; Selected Writings, ed. D. McLellan. Oxford: OUP, pp. 75-112, 159-191, 221-247, 345-387.
Rockmore, T. 2002. Marx After Marxism; The Philosophy of Karl Marx. Oxford: Blackwell.

Additional material

Marx Reloaded (documentary featuring a number of contemporary progressive philosophers talking about the relevance of Marx’s thought post-2008 economic crisis)


full film:

Guy Standing on Precariat (the new ‘dangerous class’):

Supervision 2: Weber

1 November 2016

Essay topics:

1. According to Weber, what is the role of the Predestination doctrine in the development of early capitalism? Do you agree?

2. According to Weber, what makes bureaucracies efficient? Do you agree?

Readings (as specified in the course syllabus)

Aron, R. 1965. Main Currents in Sociological Thought 2. London: Penguin, pp. 185-258 (chapter 3).
Baert, P. 2005. Philosophy of the Social Sciences : Towards Pragmatism. Cambridge : Polity. (chapter 2)
Bendix, R. 1998. Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait. London: Routledge. Collins, H. Weberian Sociological Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (esp. chap-
ters 1, 2)
Giddens, A. 1976. “Introduction”, in Weber, M. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capital- ism. London: George Allen and Unwin, pp. 1-12. (eBook: bin/bib_seek.cgi?cat=depfacoz&bib=394325)
Kasler, D. 1988. Max Weber: An Introduction to his Life and Work. Cambridge: Polity. Mommsen, W.J. 1989. The Political and Social Theory of Max Weber: Collected Essays. Cam-
bridge: Polity, especially pp. 109-168 (especially part III).
* Weber, M. 1976[1904]. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. London: George Allen and Unwin. (eBook: bin/bib_seek.cgi?cat=depfacoz&bib=394325)
* Weber, M. 1991 ‘Bureaucracy’, in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, eds. H.H. Gerth. and C.W. Mills. London: Routledge, pp. 196-244.

Supervision 3: Class and inequalities

22 Nov 2016

Essay topic: Does the analysis of cultural taste add anything to our understanding of class inequalities?

Readings (as specified in the course syllabus)
*Bourdieu, P. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Esp ‘Conclusion,’ Pps. 466-484.
*Wright, E.O. 1997. Class Counts: Comparative Studies in Class Analysis. Cambridge: Cam- bridge University Press. Esp. chp 1. Wright, E.O. 1985. Classes. London: Verso.
*Goldthorpe, Jon. 1996. ‘Class Analysis and the Reorientation of Class Theory: The Case of Persisting Differentials in Educational Attainment,’ British Journal of Sociology, vol. 47, no. 3, pps. 481-505. Crompton, R. 2008. Class and Stratification, 3rd ed., esp chps 2-4. Cambridge: Polity
Pakulski, J. and Waters, M. 1996. The Death of Class. London: Sage.
* Pakulski, J. and Waters, M. 1996. ‘The Reshaping and Dissolution of Social Class in Ad- vanced Societies,’ Theory and Society, vol. 25, no. 5, pps: 667-691.
Bradley, H. et al. 2000. ‘The Myth of the Death of Class,’ in Myths at Work. Cambridge: Polity. Evans, G. 1999. The End of Class Politics? Class Voting in Comparative Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
* Atkinson, W., Roberts, S. and Savage. M. 2013. Class Inequality in Austerity Britain. Palgrave Macmillan.
* McKenzie, L. 2015. Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain. Bristol: Policy Press. Esp. Introduction, Chps 1 and 2.

Additional material:

Owen Jones presenting “Chavs” and discussing the demonization of the working class in Britain: