Course: Foundations of Modern Social Theory with Iván Szelényi Dnatube

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Lec 1 -Introduction

"Lec 1 -Introduction"Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Professor Szelenyi introduces the course to the students. Then he introduces each social thinker we will cover in the course: Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Smith, J.S. Mill, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Weber, and Durkheim. He provides an overview of their biographies, their major works, and their major contributions....
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Lec 2 -Hobbes: Authority, Human Rights a ...

"Lec 2 -Hobbes: Authority, Human Rights and Social Order"Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) An examination of Hobbes's lifetime reveals that the uncertainty of the British monarchy during his life (1588-1679) inspires Hobbes's social and political thought, especially regarding the role of the sovereign to provide for the security of his subjects. We consider the major elements...
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Lec 3 -Locke: Equality, Freedom, Propert ...

"Lec 3 -Locke: Equality, Freedom, Property and the Right to Dissent"Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. Locke starts his political theory with a notion of individuals in the state of nature being free, equal and reasonable; the...
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Lec 4 -The Division of Powers- Montesquieu

"Lec 4 -The Division of Powers- Montesquieu"Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. Working from a perspective that there is a general will apart and above the sum of the opinions of...
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Lec 5 - Rousseau: Popular Sovereignty an ...

"Lec 5 - Rousseau: Popular Sovereignty and General Will" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Jean-Jacques Rousseau had a colorful early life. Orphaned at ten, he moved in with a woman ten years his senior at sixteen. Their probable love affair is the subject of Stendhal's book Le Rouge et la Noir. Rousseau was friends and sometimes enemies with many major figures in the French...
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Lec 6 - Rousseau on State of Nature and ...

"Lec 6 - Rousseau on State of Nature and Education" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) The general will—dangerous if taken too far—operates in many elements of our social and civic life. Immunizations that are compulsory for living in dorms serve the common good—the general will—regardless of individual will. The general will operates in society when individuals...
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Lec 7 - Utilitarianism and Liberty, John ...

"Lec 7 - Utilitarianism and Liberty, John Stuart Mill" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Adam Smith's ideas about self-interest should be understood as a precursor in some ways to John Stuart Mill's thinking on utilitarianism. Professor Szelenyi discusses, but does not resolve, the complexities of Adam Smith's moral and ethical positions staked out in The Theory of Moral...
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Lec 8 - Smith: The Invisible Hand

"Lec 8 - Smith: The Invisible Hand" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) John Stuart Mill made important and influential amendments to Bentham's ideas of utilitarianism. Perhaps most influentially, Mill states that there are not only different quantities of happiness but also qualitative differences in happiness. Humans are capable of higher forms of happiness, and therefore...
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Lec 9 - Marx's Theory of Alienation

"Lec 9 - Marx's Theory of Alienation" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Marx begins his intellectual life as a Young Hegelian, in the company of Bruno Bauer and others. The Young Hegelians, a radical group of scholars, intended to subject Hegel's theories to critical scrutiny. Eventually, Marx breaks with this tradition altogether by saying that alienation does not come from...
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Lec 10 - Marx's Theory of Historical Mat ...

"Lec 10 - Marx's Theory of Historical Materialism (1)" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. Reflecting on the disappointed hopes of the French Revolution, Hegel wrote that the civil servants in France represent the...
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Lec 11 - Marx's Theory of Historical Mat ...

"Lec 11 - Marx's Theory of Historical Materialism (cont.)" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. Through a closer look at Marx's "Theses on Feuerbach," we discuss different...
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Lec 12 - Marx's Theory of History

"Lec 12 - Marx's Theory of History" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) We consider closely Marx's Grundrisse, written between The German Ideology and Das Kapital. In the Grundrisse, Marx revisits and revises his theory of historical change. Previously, he argued that history is characterized by a uni-linear increase in the division of labor. He also argued that class struggle...
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Lec 13 - Marx's Theory of Class and Expl ...

"Lec 13 - Marx's Theory of Class and Exploitation" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. He developed these in The Communist Manifesto, the Grundrisse and Das Kapital. Marx argues that what sets the capitalist mode of production...
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Lec 14 - Nietzsche on Power, Knowledge a ...

"Lec 14 - Nietzsche on Power, Knowledge and Morality" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Today we take a bridge into the twentieth century, constructed by Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber's critical theory. Each author is different in important ways, but they also agree on two crucial points: we must subject our consciousness and assumptions to critical scrutiny and, along with...
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Lec 15 - Freud on Sexuality and Civilization

"Lec 15 - Freud on Sexuality and Civilization" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. We discuss Freud's early days in Vienna...
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Lec 16 - Weber on Protestantism and Capi ...

"Lec 16 - Weber on Protestantism and Capitalism" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Max Weber wrote his best-known work after he recovered from a period of serious mental illness near the turn of the twentieth century. After he recovered, his work transitioned from enthusiastically capitalist and liberal in the tradition of Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill to much more skeptical...
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Lec 17 - Conceptual Foundations of Weber ...

"Lec 17 - Conceptual Foundations of Weber's Theory of Domination" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. Leaders gain authority through domination, a combination of power and legitimacy. Weber...
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Lec 18 - Weber on Traditional Authority

"Lec 18 - Weber on Traditional Authority" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) We return to Weber's idea of domination, Herrschaft. Herrschaft has been translated into English as "authority" and as "domination." The translation into domination highlights the elements of power and legitimacy that are co-mingled in the concept as well as the importance of the suggestion of the...
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Lec 19 - Weber on Charismatic Authority

"Lec 19 - Weber on Charismatic Authority" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Charismatic authority, unlike traditional authority, is a revolutionary and unstable form of authority. Weber borrows the religious term of charisma and extends its use to a secular meaning. Audiences and followers believe that charismatic leaders have a close connection to a divine power, have...
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Lec 20 - Weber on Legal-Rational Authority

"Lec 20 - Weber on Legal-Rational Authority" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) The purest form—the ideal type—of Weber's legal-rational type of authority is bureaucracy. Legal-rational authority indicates that authority is invested in a set of rules and rule-bound institutions and that the creating and changing the rules are outside of the control of those who administer...
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Lec 21 - Weber's Theory of Class

"Lec 21 - Weber's Theory of Class" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. In feudal times, under traditional forms of authority, monarchs or others in power conferred high status upon...
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Lec 22 - Durkheim and Types of Social So ...

"Lec 22 - Durkheim and Types of Social Solidarity" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. In the early years of his career, Durkheim's orientation was functionalist (The Division of Labor in Society) and positivist (The Rules of...
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Lec 23 - Durkheim's Theory of Anomie

"Lec 23 - Durkheim's Theory of Anomie" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. These abnormal and unhealthy consequences of the change in type of social...
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Lec 24 - Durkheim on Suicide

"Lec 24 - Durkheim on Suicide" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. Durkheim's study demonstrates that what is thought to be a highly individual act is actually socially patterned and has social, not only psychological,...
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Lec Last - Durkheim and Social Facts

"Lec Last - Durkheim and Social Facts" Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) 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. In The Rules of Sociological Method, Durkheim attempted to provide methodological rules and...

Foundations of Modern Social Theory with Iván Szelényi


Source of these courses is Yale 
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.
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COURSE NAME: Foundations of Modern Social Theory with Iván Szelényi

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