Theory and Society

Please note: this is archived course information from 2021 for SOCIOL 200.


Max Horkheimer wrote that critical theory sheds "critical light on present-day society ... under the hope of radically improving human existence". "Theory and Society" takes this approach. Theory is deployed as a tool to understand and explain the embedded structures and relationships that give form to life and explores ways in which they can be transformed.

With Marx we examine why in a free society so much of our time is taken up with getting and maintaining a job. Plunging deep into our innermost desires, with Freud we examine, amongst other things, why people act against their own interest by defending the power and privileges of the elites. Marcuse synthesises Marx and Freud in his compelling denunciation of society today, who we turn to next. Also covered in this course is Weber, Foucault, theories of gender and sexuality, race, and one or two other theorists who are occasionally taught.

Coursework only

Availability 2021

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Dr Ciara Cremin


A course reader will be made available if required.


Coursework + exam


SOCIOL 200: 15 points


30 points at Stage I in Sociology or 15 points at Stage I in Sociology with a minimum B+ pass