Foundations of Modern Social Theory - Audio
By Iván Szelényi
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This course provides an overview of major works of social thought from the beginning of the modern era through the 1920s. Attention is paid to social and intellectual contexts, conceptual frameworks and methods, and contributions to contemporary social analysis. Writers include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Marx, Weber, and Durkheim.
||01 - Introduction||Professor Szelényi introduces the course to the students.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||02 - Hobbes: Authority, Human Rights and Social Order||An examination of Hobbes's lifetime reveals that the uncertainty of the British monarchy during his life inspires Hobbes's social and political thought, especially regarding the role of the sovereign to provide for the security of his subjects.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||03 - Locke: Equality, Freedom, Property and the Right to Dissent||John Locke, a liberal thinker and near-contemporary of the conservative Hobbes, disputes Hobbes's thinking in some keys ways and builds on it in others.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||04 - Montesquieu: The Division of Powers||We shift from seventeenth-century England to eighteenth-century France and from the methodological individualism of Hobbes and Locke to the methodological collectivism of Montesquieu and Rousseau.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||05 - Rousseau: Popular Sovereignty and General Will||Jean-Jacques Rousseau had a colorful early life. Orphaned at ten, he moved in with a woman ten years his senior at sixteen.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||06 - Rousseau on State of Nature and Education||The general will--dangerous if taken too far--operates in many elements of our social and civic life.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||07 - Mill: Utilitarianism and Liberty||Adam Smith's ideas about self-interest should be understood as a precursor in some ways to John Stuart Mill's thinking on utilitarianism.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||08 - Smith: The Invisible Hand||John Stuart Mill made important and influential amendments to Bentham's ideas of utilitarianism.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||09 - Marx's Theory of Alienation||Marx begins his intellectual life as a Young Hegelian, in the company of Bruno Bauer and others.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||10 - Marx's Theory of Historical Materialism||We review Marx's theory of alienation and pick up with the transition from the young Marx to the mature Marx who breaks with Hegelian thought and the Young Hegelians.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||11 - Marx's Theory of Historical Materialism (cont.)||Today we cover the transition from the young Marx, with his emphasis on change and action, to the mature Marx who turns toward positivist science and determinism, arguing that capitalism will have to fail.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||12 - Marx's Theory of History||We consider closely Marx's Grundrisse, written between The German Ideology and Das Kapital.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||13 - Marx's Theory of Class and Exploitation||In order to move from a theory of alienation to a theory of exploitation, Marx develops a concept of class and of the capitalist mode of production.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||14 - Nietzsche on Power, Knowledge and Morality||Today we take a bridge into the twentieth century, constructed by Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber's critical theory.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||15 - Freud on Sexuality and Civilization||Freud's brand of critical theory adds important dimensions; he argues that we can better understand our consciousness through the process of psychoanalysis--the talking cure, dream work, etc--and we can cure ourselves through this process as well.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||16 - Weber on Protestantism and Capitalism||Max Weber wrote his best-known work after he recovered from a period of serious mental illness near the turn of the twentieth century.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||17 - Conceptual Foundations of Weber's Theory of Domination||Diverging significantly from Marx's idea that history can be traced by the modes of production and the economy, Weber argues that history is characterized by different modes of authority.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||18 - Weber on Traditional Authority||We return to Weber's idea of domination, Herrschaft. Herrschaft has been translated into English as "authority" and as "domination."||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||19 - Weber on Charismatic Authority||Charismatic authority, unlike traditional authority, is a revolutionary and unstable form of authority.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||20 - Weber on Legal-Rational Authority||The purest form--the ideal type--of Weber's legal-rational type of authority is bureaucracy.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||21 - Weber's Theory of Class||Along with the macro-level shift from traditional forms of authority to legal-rational authority, Weber's theory of class identifies a macro-level shift from status to class determining life chances.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||22 - Durkheim and Types of Social Solidarity||Emile Durkheim, a French scholar who lived from 1858 until 1917, was one of the first intellectuals to use the term "sociology" to describe his work.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||23 - Durkheim's Theory of Anomie||In the transition from mechanical solidarity to organic solidarity, brought on by increasing division of labor, industrialization, and urbanization, Durkheim argues that there will be social pathologies, which he calls anomie.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||24 - Durkheim on Suicide||Durkheim's Suicide is a foundational text for the discipline of sociology, and, over a hundred years later, it remains influential in the study of suicide.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||25 - Durkheim and Social Facts||Durkheim understood life sciences as divided into three branches: biology, which is interested in the body, psychology, which deals with the personality, and sociology, which deals with collective representations.||4/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
Great course, although needs more authors.
I find this course to be extremely useful. But there are some authors which should have been passed. The audio for Adam Smith is really John S. Mill and vice versa. Other than that it is a high quality lecture. It would be a great idea to complement with Charles Anderson's course on the subject, and David Gordon.
He should fact-check
I got as far as the second lecture, in which he gave a precis of Elizabethan English history to explain the background for Hobbs. It appears that the professor didn't know the difference between Avignon and Aragon (Henry VIII's first wife was Catherine of Avignon) or between Mary I and Mary Queen of Scots (Mary I had to "resign" because she was so unpopular, but Elizabeth later had her executed!) These are only a few, (and some are on his powerpoints), not to mention that Hobbs wasn't really Elizabethan. I gave up on the course because i figured if he has these basic facts wrong, I couldn't trust anything he said! Maybe that's why he's teaching in Dubai now.
I am surprised Yale keeps showing these lectures. On the other hand, my relatives in England had a good laugh.
Great introductory philosophy class without being boring
I like how the professor starts his discussion of different thinkers with some biographical info and the historical period that produced them. He is also good in connecting different thinkers' ideas, showing the roots of a certain concept which was identified with a certain philosopher but the seeds were intriduced by his predecessors.He also has a sense of humor, which definitely makes the lectures easier to follow. Overall, really good introductory class.