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240509 SE Selected Topics in Contemporary Social Theory (P2) (2021W)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). The plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 20 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Update 22.11.2021: The course will be held digital during lockdown.
If possible, the course is to be conducted in presence. Due to the respective applicable distance regulations and other measures, adjustments may be made.

Monday 04.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal A, NIG 4.Stock
Monday 11.10. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Monday 18.10. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Monday 25.10. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Monday 08.11. 15:00 - 18:15 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock
Monday 15.11. 15:00 - 18:15 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock
Monday 22.11. 15:00 - 18:15 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

This graduate seminar consists of weekly meetings and introduces a selected repertoire of key concepts in current debates in social sciences. Rather than providing a historical discussion on the canonical works, this course will focus on specific literature and aim to develop a relational understanding of identity, market, difference, violence, crisis, power, and space in their interactions with broader relations in society. How can we reconceptualize violence through a lens of temporality? Does space produce difference? What are the different definitions of commodification? How do these different definitions bring forward different conceptualizations of identity and market? How are crisis, emergencies, and knowledge production intertwined? The methods and sources we discuss are multiple and varied—from sociology and history, anthropology, political economy, environmental studies, critical race and gender studies, and geography.
At the end of the semester, students will:
1) be fluent and theoretically knowledgeable in the key concepts and issues covered in this course.
2) develop a reflexive and critical approach to these concepts through written assignments and in-class discussions over the selected literature.
3) be capable of creating relations between concepts and theories
4) have a better understanding of the investigative and creative parts of academic research and necessary practical skills such as bibliographic research, use of search tools, familiarity with library and university resources, etc.

Assessment and permitted materials

Participation at first session is obligatory!
The University of Vienna uses plagiarism software for courses with continuous assessment. Your papers will also be submitted to the plagiarism software.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Class participation is mandatory. Students cannot miss class without a documented medical or legal reason more than one time.
Being prepared for the class is essential and will be graded. Together with position papers and presentations, it constitutes 70% of the final grade. Students should come to class with notes and questions about the readings and participate. In addition to this, students are expected to write two position papers throughout the semester on the selected material.
For each class, a student is responsible for presenting a summary of the readings and providing a set of questions. The summary and questions should be circulated to the group one day before the meeting, 1 pm. These questions will serve as a basis for discussion.
Students will not write a final paper for this course. The format of the final project (either submitting a take-home exam or preparing an annotated bibliography) will be announced in the first meeting.
2 position papers 40%
Presentation and Participation 30%
Final Project/Take-home Exam 30%

A = 1 (Excellent): 89- 100
B = 2 (Good): 76 - 88
C = 3 (Satisfactory): 63 - 75
D = 4 (Sufficient): 50 - 62
F = 5 (Fail): 0- 49

Examination topics

Written papers, Presentations, engagement in discussions

Reading list

Reading List (tentative)
Steven Lukes (2005 [1977]) Power: A Radical View, Introduction and Chapter 1.
William Roseberry, 1994. "Hegemony and the Language of Contention", Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico, Gilbert M. Joseph, Daniel Nugent
Burawoy, M. (2010). From Polanyi to Pollyanna: The False Optimism of Global Labor Studies. Global Labour Studies, 1, 301–313.
Fraser, N. (2014). Can society be commodities all the way down? Post-Polanyian reflections on capitalist crisis. Economy and Society, 43(4), 541–558.
Farmer, P. (2004). An Anthropology of Structural Violence. Current Anthropology, 45(3), 305–325.
Nixon, R. (2011). Slow violence and the environmentalism of the poor. Harvard University Press, 1-44
Hall, S. & D. Massey 2010. "Interpreting the Crisis". In R. Grayson & J. Rutherford (eds) After the Crash: Re-Inventing the Left in Britain. London: Soundings, Social Liberal Forum and Compass, 37–46.
Clarke, J. (2014). Conjunctures, crises, and cultures. Focaal, 70, 113-22.
Massey, D. (2005). For space. SAGE, pp. 1-30.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 22.11.2021 10:09