Modern Sociological Theories
Word limit: 4,000 – 5,000 words ( note that 5,000 words is the maximum word count – there is no 10% leeway margin)
Deadline: 18th January 2021
Choose ONE of the questions from the list below.
Ensure that you consult the assignment tips and guidance page posted on canvas and engage with the essay writing lecture (week 11).
1. Explain and critically assess the main features of Marx’s historical materialism
2. Critically assess Marx’s account of the alienating effects of capitalism and how it would be overcome under communism
3. Explain and critically assess Durkheim’s account of ‘social facts’, using his study of Suicide to illustrate your answer
4. Explain and critically assess Durkheim’s account of the transition from ‘mechanical’ to ‘organic’ solidarity
5. Explain and critically assess the merits of Weber’s contributions to sociological methodologies
6. Explain and critically assess the sociological significance of Weber’s concept of the ‘ideal-type’
7. What is the ‘iron cage’ of bureaucracy identified by Weber? How might it be resisted?
8. Outline the main contributions to sociology made by W. E. B. Du Bois and critically assess his frequent absence from the sociological canon
9. Critically assess the contemporary relevance of ONE or TWO of the theorists studied during the module. To what extent can their works be used to understand contemporary societies?
10. Why has the concept of a ‘sociological canon’ been criticised by feminist, critical race AND/OR postcolonial theorists? To what extent are these criticisms justified?
11. How and why has the concept of ‘the social’ presented by the ‘founding fathers’ of Sociology (Marx, Weber, Durkheim) been criticised by feminist scholars?
12. To what extent – if any – does symbolic interactionism explain how individuals might change shared norms?
13. Explain and critically assess Goffman’s arguments about power and agency being a skilled performance
14. What, according to Adorno, is the impact of the culture industry on the political life of late-capitalist society?
15. Compare and contrast the evaluations of popular culture made by the Frankfurt School and the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies
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