Spring 2015, Rich Hogan firstname.lastname@example.org
This course offers a general survey of contemporary sociological theory. The approach is historical, with a view toward continuities with Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, but the course is focused primarily on twentieth century sociology in the USA. Specifically, Urban Ecology, Functionalism and Functional Conflict Theory, Exchange Theory, Symbolic Interactionism, Ethnomethodology, Marxist and Weberian Theories of political economy, including feminist theory, will be covered. These theoretical traditions will be considered more or less chronologically (in the order in which they developed as major perspectives in sociology in the USA). To the extent that it is possible, I will develop something of a history of sociology that picks up where classical theory (SOC 600) ended.
This is very much a work a progress, which my successor might wish to undertake in tandem with the excellent work being done by Andy Abbott and others on the Chicago School and by Craig Calhoun and others on ASA and Sociology in the USA, more generally. We might also have occasion to talk about the history of sociology here at Purdue, where we recently celebrated 60 years (since 1953) as a department.
Reading Readings should be completed before the class meeting in which they will be discussed (as indicated in the schedule below). The discussion questions (listed for each section) should be considered in the course of your reading, and you should be prepared to discuss these questions in our class meetings. The first class will be devoted to general orientation; the last class will be devoted to summary and conclusion, so there is no assigned reading for these class meetings.
Most of the readings are contained in books that are available for purchase at Vons. These books, two classic readers and five solo-authored sociological classics, should be part of your library. One of these books (Bottomore and Nisbet) is out of print, but students were ab le to find copies last year. We will not read every chapter of Bottomore and Nisbet’s excellent (classic) history, which combines the editorial and essay efforts of a Marxist and a Durkheimian who secured the contributions of many outstanding sociologists who lived the history that they were reporting. Now that many of the contributors are dead and buried we should consider this a collector’s item. If you can find it you should buy it now before it disappears forever. The chapters that we omit are certainly worth reading, including the early chapters that review what we have covered in classical theory (SOC 600).
We will read and (hopefully) discuss every other required reading. You should start reading Mills right away, followed by Merton, then Blau, then Blumer, then Garfinkle. By then you should be thoroughly confused and ready for the Giddens and Held (classic) reader, which will allow us to limit the amount of time that we spend on the various flavors of Marxist and feminist and critical and even not so critical theories of political economy. It is one of my great regrets that we no longer have any faculty or courses in political economy here at Purdue, but Bob Perrucci and I (who saw political economy come and go here) are still available for those interested in learning oral history. Alternatively, I have added Rhonda Levine’s edited volume from 2005 as a recommended reading that we might want to consider as an exercise in looking back and thinking forward toward a more radical sociology.
We will not be reading or discussing postmodern, post-colonial, transsexual, intersectional, socio-biological, neo-functional or any of the other passing fancies that may or may not survive as theories or theory groups. For our purposes, network theory (for example) is simply another example of something that might be a theory, or a method, or a substantive area, or simply a network of sociologists who read and cite each other. For our purposes, citations do not a theory make. The interested student might want to see how Hogan (2005) uses the citation index to sample bean counter and ontological and epistemological purist critiques of Wright and Perrone (1977), a classic by any measure. The latest French or German fad (Bourdieu and whoever is going to follow Habermas, who is still among the living as I write these words) might be mentioned in passing. My continuing relations with theorists and Marxists and other sectionalized ASA or SSHA fellow travelers might help those of you who are looking for more guidance to the 21st century literature. My position is that it is much too early to decide what is worth reading.
Other 20th century readings, particularly the journal articles and some of the book chapters, should be available online through the library. Some of these I hope to make available in links to PDF files downloaded from the library, but there may be copyright issues involved.
As noted above, this course is very much a work in progress. It will be my last version of this course, which will combine some of the highlights of SOC 602 courses that I have taught, 1984-2014. Although I have taught this course many times it has been twenty years or more since we have attempted to teach all of sociological theory in two courses. The addition (or, more accurately, reinstallation) of social psychological theories has made it necessary to limit the treatment of contemporary macro theory. Even micro theory is treated very briefly. There, however, you will have the opportunity to take SOC 603 (when and if it is offered), which can now build on the foundation offered here. Perhaps we will someday develop a SOC 604 to offer macro theory in the depth that it deserves.
Meanwhile, this is a course in which books are used to build your library. If you are really interested in sociological theory you should probably buy all of the recommended and required books, but even assembling an appropriate list would require more time and money than we have available right now. Let us instead consider this syllabus, with its limited bibliography of recommended books and articles, a first attempt to cover the field. Over the next several weeks and the next few years we might continue this effort.
Writing Assignments Three short (1250-1500 word) papers will be required and graded. Each of these “major” papers should deal with one or more of the theoretical perspectives that we are discussing.
There are at least three possibilities for paper topics. First, you might analyze the development of one or more theories in light of its relation to classical theory and the socio-historical context in which it developed. Second, you might compare and contrast two or more theories or review major debates within or between theoretical traditions. Third, you might attempt to apply one or more theoretical perspectives to a problem of interest to you.
This last option might be particularly appropriate for a student preparing to undertake an analytic project or a prelim exam. It is, essentially, what students are asked to do in SOC 600. You might choose a particular topic (intellectual property law, Protestantism in China, eldercare, ethics and morality in the postmodern world, sects/cults and churches, the rise of HMOs, religious fundamentalism, capital flight, the changes occurring in Eastern Europe, changing fertility and household composition in the USA, etc.) and write your first paper as a functionalist or conflict or ecological perspective on your problem, followed (in your second paper) by a social psychological approach or a political economy approach, and concluded (in your last paper) by a consideration of your theoretical perspective, as informed by the debates and the theories covered in class.
There will be no exams. Grades will be based on the papers and on participation in class discussions. You will be encouraged to write short (200-500 word) essays every week and turn these in—not for grades but for comments. In fact, as graduate students, you should get in the habit of reading, thinking, then writing, every day. This course will be an excellent opportunity for you to develop those skills.
Every time you turn in a major essay (three times during the semester) you should include everything that you have turned in previously for comments—the original, with my comments. This will help me to assign grades for effort and for improvement, which will be taken into account as a fudge factor. Even an exceptionally prolific writer who talks incessantly and never misses a class will be expected to achieve a basic level of competence, generally indicated in the three major essays, in order to pass the class. The difference between a B- and a B+ or and A- an A+ might well depend on effort and improvement, as best as I can evaluate these components of your final product.
Schedule of Readings and Discussion Topics Section I: The Early Day: From Columbia to Chicago
1971 Knowledge and Human Interest. Boston, MS: Beacon.
1979 "Conservatism and Capitalist Crisis," New Left Review, 115 (May-June): 73-84
1986 "Incorporation in the World System," American Sociological Review, 51: 390-402.
1976 "Labor, Capital, and Class Struggle Around the Built Environment," Politics and Society, 6: 265-295.
1989 The Condition of Postmodernity. Cambridge: Blackwell.
Hawley, Amos, and Frederick M. Wirt (eds)
1974 The Search for Community Power. Englewood-Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
1985 "The Frontier As Social Control," Theory and Society, 14: 35-51.
1987 "Carnival and Caucus: A Typology for Comparative Frontier History," Social Science History, 11, 2: 139-167.
1997 “Do Citizen Initiatives Affect Growth? The Case of Five San Diego Suburbs.” In Dan A. Chekki (ed.), Research in Community Sociology 7:249-275
2001 “Class, Race and Gender Inequality,” Race, Gender & Class 8, 2:61-93.
2003 The Failure of Planning: Permitting Sprawl in San Diego Suburbs, 1970-1999 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press)
2005 “Was Wright Wrong? High-Class Jobs and the Professional Earnings Advantage,” Social Science Quarterly, 86, 3 (September):645-663.
Hogan, Richard, and Carolyn C. Perrucci
1998 “Producing and Reproducing Class and Status Differences: Racial and Gender Gaps in U.S. Employment and Retirement Income.” Social Problems 45:528-549
Hogan, Richard, Carolyn Perrucci and Janet Wilmoth
2000 “Gender Inequaluty in Employment and Retirement Income: Effects of Marriage, Industrial Sector, and Self-Employment,” in M. Texler Segal and V. Demos (eds.), Advances in Gender Research 4:27-54.
Homans, George C.
1958. “Social Behavior as Exchange.” American Journal of Sociology LXII (May): 597-606.
Horan, Patrick M
1978 “Is Status Attainment Research Atheoretical?" American Sociological Review, 43: 534-541
1981 The Politics of Social Theory. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
1984 "Postmodernism, of the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,” New Left Review 146 (July/August):53-93.
1988 "Rethinking Macrosociological Theory," American Sociological Review 53: 163-171.
Levine, Rhonda F.
2005 Enriching the Sociological Imagination: How Radical Sociology Changed the Discipline. Paradigm Publishers.
Logan, John R.
1978 "Growth, Politics, and the Stratification of Place," American Journal of Sociology 84: 404-416.
1964 One Dimensional Man. Boston, MS: Beacon Press.
*Merton, Robert K
1968 Social Theory and Social Structure. NY: Free Press.
Mills, C. Wright
1956 The Power Elite. NY: Oxford University Press.
*1967 The Sociological Imagination. NY: Oxford University Press.
1976 "The City As a Growth Machine," American Journal of Sociology 82: 309-332
1973 Theories and Theory Groups in Contemporary American Sociology. NY: Harper and Row.
Orloff, Ann Shola and Theda Skocpol
1984 "Why Not Equal Protection," American Sociological Review 49:726-750.
1979 Marxism and Class Theory: A Bourgeois Critique. NY: Colombia University Press.
Parsons, Talcott and Edwin Shils
1951 Toward A General Theory of Social Action. NY: Harper and Row.
1994 "Embedded Corporatism: Auto Transplants, the Local State and Community Politics in the Midwest Corridor, The Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 3:487-505.
Quadagno, Jill S
1984 "Welfare Capitalism and the Social Security Act of 1935," American Sociological Review 49: 632-47.
Rytina, Steve L
1989 "Life Chances and Continuity of Rank," American Sociological Review 54: 910-928.
Schumpeter, Joseph A.
1950 Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. NY: Harper and Row.
1984 "Talcott Parson's Analytic Critique of Marxism's Concept of Alienation," American Journal of Sociology 90:514-540.
Sewart, John J.
1978 "Critical Theory and the Critique of the Conservative Method," American Sociologist, 13 (Feb): 15-22.
1980 "Political Response to Capitalist Crisis," Politics and Society 10:155-201.
Smelser, Neil J.
1988 Handbook of Sociology. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
1993 "Women's Experience as a Radical Critique of Sociology," in James Farganis (ed.), Readings in Social Theory: The Classic Tradition to Post-Modernism. NY: McGraw Hill.
1979 The City and Social Theory. NY: St. Martin's.
Stinchcombe, Arthur L.
1968 Constructing Social Theories. NY: Harcourt, Brace, and World.
1979 "The Social Organization of the American Business Elite," American Sociological Review 44, 4 (August 1979, pp. 53-572.
2001 Storied Land: Community and Memory in Monterey. University California
Wuthnow, Robert, James Davison Hunter, Albert Bergesen and Edith Kurzweil
1985  Cultural Analysis: The Work of Peter Berger, Mary Douglas, Michel Foucault and Jurgen Habermas. Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul