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SO 4039 / SO 4539

Course Co-ordinator: Dr A McKinnon

Pre-requisite(s): Available only to students in Programme Year 4 only. Students should normally have 135 credits in Sociology courses. Students lacking these credits may be allowed to take the course with the Head of Department's permission.

Note(s): This course will be available in the second half-session of 2012/13 as SO 4539.

In this class we will examine social theories of religion, beginning with a few important classics (Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Nietzsche), and continuing on to as well as more contemporary social theory. Unlike in classical theory, where the religion question looms large, in most contemporary theory, religion has become a somewhat more peripheral concern. Much of such recent theorizing, however, provides us with vital tools for a sociological comprehension of contemporary (as well as historical) religion. With the question of religion in mind, we will examine relevant writings such as those of the Frankfurt School, Michel Foucault, Charles Taylor, Pierre Bourdieu, Ulrich Beck, René Girard and Dorothy Smith. Our focus will be on thematics that bridge the sociological study of religion with topics relevant to other areas of research. These include power, sacrifice, the body, discipline, ritual, the social imaginary, consumption/commodification, globalization, risk, and rationality.

1 one-hour lecture and 1 one-hour tutorial per week.

1st Attempt: Examination (60%), and continuous assessment (40%).