Fall 2016 - SA 450 E100

Advanced Sociological Theory (S) (4)

Class Number: 3381

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2016: Mon, 4:30–8:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Minimum of 72 units including SA 350, a GPA of at least 3.25 and consent of the instructor.



A senior seminar on current perspectives in sociological theory. Emphasis will differ from semester to semester.


This course covers the first one hundred years of sociological theorizing from around the 1830s to the 1940s. The classical tradition of sociological thought emerged in the writings of leading theorists of that period. Among these theorists are Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. This course examines the earliest concepts, theories, and methods of sociology found in the work of these thinkers. Their critical engagement with what is often termed ‘the Enlightenment’ largely shaped sociology as a discipline. Therefore, the course will also include a brief review of the intellectual premises of the Enlightenment as evident in the writings of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Adam Smith. Through focused reading, critical analysis, in-depth class discussion, and historical investigation we will compare and contrast leading classical theorists’ thoughts on the processes of capital accumulation and restructuring of social classes, the organization of state power and political alliances, and hegemonies of historical capitalism. Throughout the semester this course will provide a forum for rethinking politics and addressing the historical and global dimensions of social change by making connections to today’s neoliberal world, including the current economic and ontological crises.


  • Two sets of written summaries (each worth 15%) 30%
  • Class presentation 30%
  • Critical journals 25%
  • Presenting the international news of the week 5%
  • Participation (details will be discussed in class) 10%


Students will receive an N grade if they do not complete any one of the following assignments: Two sets of written summaries; Class presentation; and Critical journals. An N is considered an F for purposes of scholastic standing.

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.



Giovanni Arrighi (2010) The Long Twentieth Century, London: Verso
ISBN: 9781844673049

Karl Polanyi (1944) The Great Transformation, Boston: Beacon Press 
ISBN: 9780807056431

Selected Readings (you will have access to these readings in the reference library)

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/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