Fall 2019 - SA 850 G100

Selected Topics in Social Theory (5)

Class Number: 3927

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Wed, 4:30–8:20 p.m.



Examines different historical and contemporary perspectives from the body of social theory. Students from other departments and faculties may enroll with permission of instructor.


This course provides a forum for addressing the historical and global dimensions of social change by making connections between the liberalism of the Enlightenment and the neoliberalism of today’s world. It presents a space for critical engagement with the intellectual premises of what is often termed ‘liberalism’ and an in-depth navigation across the long twentieth century of commodification, capital accumulation and hegemonies of historical capitalism. It also offers a judicious rethinking of the twenty-first century processes of neoliberalism. Through focused reading, critical analysis of international news, in-depth class discussion, and historical investigation we will explore the convergences and divergences between the old style ‘liberalism’ and new style ‘neoliberalism’. Finally we will compare and contrast leading social theories in order to consider the emergent politics of post-capitalism.


  • Written summaries (3 x 10%) 30%
  • Class presentation 30%
  • Critical journal 25%
  • Presenting international news of the week 5%
  • Participation 10%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.



Polyani, Karl. (2001). The Great Transformation: The political and economic origins of our time. Boston: Beacon Press.
ISBN: 978-0-807056431

Additional readings will be available through the SFU Library.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html