SOC 410. Contemporary Social Theory

20th century theories: functionalism, conflict, interactionism, exchange, structural, phenomenological, existential, interpretive, and critical. [Prereq: SOC 310; junior standing or greater.]

What is social theory? What is the purpose of social theory? How can social theory help us understand how individuals, groups, social structures, and the natural environment interact as a historical and cultural project? These are some of the basic questions we will explore this semester through an examining of several contemporary social theories, including symbolic interactionism, critical theory, postmodernism, rational choice theory, post-structuralism, and social theories focusing on globalization processes. In this course, you will gain experience in reading and responding to social theories and learn to place these thinkers within the history of western thought. This course is reading and writing intensive, and group work and discussion will be fundamental aspects of this course. Social theory can be intellectually stimulating, but it also requires conceptual thinking and critical thought. Taking your time reading the assignments will insure that you are prepared for discussion and group work.


Appelrouth, Scott and Laura Desfor Edles. 2016, Sociological Theory in the Contemporary Era.