ENP-53303 Major Works in Contemporary Social Theory


Studiepunten 3.00

Individual Paper1
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. G Spaargaren
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. G Spaargaren
dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer
dr. AJAM Schuurman
dr. ir. BB Bock
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. G Spaargaren

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

RSO-10306 Sociology.

Continuation courses:

DEC-20306 Rural Households and Livelihood Strategies; ENR-20306 Environmental Economics and Environmental Policy; ENP-31806 Globalization and Sustainability of Food Production and Consumption; RSO-21306 Policy, People and Resources in Comparative Perspective; AEP-22806 Spatial and Regional Economics; CPT-21806 Communication and Policy Making; CPT-30806 Social Justice, Technology and Development.


This course offers a confrontation with and exploration of the major works of a selected number of contemporary authors in social theory at an advanced level.
This course will increase and deepen student's understanding of sociological theory by studying an influential monograph by a contemporary social scientist. This enables the students to analyse and evaluate issues presently discussed in contemporary societies from a sociological perspective. Relevant issues include: globalization, growing mobility, network-society, fluidization of lifestyles, multi-cultural society etc. The course helps prepare students for the proper use of social theory (selection, operationalization) in the context of doing further empirical research.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to have:
- acquired an advanced level of understanding of some major contemporary social theorists and their work;
- applied the key concepts developed within contemporary social theory to major developments in modern societies through discussion and debates;
- translated and applied concepts and theories to contemporary social problems;
- written an extended essay about a contemporary social theorist;
- learned how to present a paper for a group.


The course consists of a series of group sessions to discuss a recent book of a relevant contemporary author. The different sessions will be prepared by all students through making an abstract/summary of the chapter together with questions and statements for discussion. For each session two students will take a special responsibility by introducing the chapter and chairing the discussion. The discussions will be preceded by a presentation (by one of the teachers or a guest-lecturer) linking the theoretical concepts with relevant actual social phenomena.
Next to the discussion group sessions, students prepare a paper based on topics that are directly related to the monograph read and the group discussions. For this year, the student will review a limited number of other relevant articles or texts next to the monograph. During the process of writing the paper, the students will be supervised by one of the teachers of the course. There will be meetings to discuss the outline of the paper, the first chapters, and the draft version of the paper. The final paper will be presented during the final course-symposium-day.


The examination will consist of:
- summaries and discussion questions/statements for all chapters to be discussed in the discussion group sessions (20%);
- the contribution the student delivers to the discussion group and the presentation of the paper (20%);
- a mark for the paper or the agreed upon (group)assignment (60%).
The paper or (group) assignment need a minimum mark of 6.0.


To be provided in upon start of the course.