History of Social Theory
Course code
old course code
Course title in Estonian
Ühiskonnateooriate ajalugu
Course title in English
History of Social Theory
ECTS credits
Assessment form
lecturer of 2023/2024 Spring semester
Tanel Vallimäe (language of instruction:Estonian)
lecturer of 2024/2025 Autumn semester
Not opened for teaching. Click the study programme link below to see the nominal division schedule.
Course aims
The aim of the course is to provide students with an opportunity to acquire knowledge of the historical background of modern sociology, addressing classical social theories from the modern period to the Second World War. During the course, a possibility is given to learn how to present the basic ideas of the theorists of society we address in the course, how to compare them and use in the analysis of modern social processes.
Brief description of the course
During the course, classic texts of social theories are read; students learn how to use cross-cutting key terms and their various meanings and to discuss the following central topics of social theories of modern and contemporary times:
What is the relationship between an individual and the society?
What is the set-up of the human society, its central processes and how and why do societies change?
What is social order and how to secure it?
What is freedom and how to secure it? What is the relationship of freedom to order?
Is it more inherent to the “human nature” to be autonomous or a member of community?
What is the task or mission of social theories and sociology? How is their methodology different from those of other disciplines?
We will also discuss to what extent and how classical social theories are topical also in modern sociology. Do they carry only a historical meaning or are still the foundation and source of inspiration for sociology?
The course requires independent work with seminar texts, participation in seminar discussions and lectures. Seminars are compulsory and attendance is the precondition for taking the exam.
Learning outcomes in the course
Upon completing the course the student:
- has an overview of the ideas of historically significant social philosophers and theorists and is able to compare their theoretical positions, knows and is able to present cross-cutting key terms in social theories and central problems;
- understands the link between discussed issues and modern social theories;
- knows how to present his/her standpoints orally and in writing.
Tanel Vallimäe, MPhil (politoloogia); e-mail: vallimae@tlu.ee, Skype: tanelvallimae
The course is a prerequisite