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Social Theory in Everyday Life




Admissions requirements



What has social theory got to do with our daily life? Can social theory help us to decode the differences between the west and the rest or between emojis and emotions? Does social theory give us insight, and enable us to respond to, global challenges such as climate change, population displacement, cyber wars, retro-nationalism, and social anomie? In light of such demanding conditions and implacable forces, why bother at all about social theory?

In this course, you are invited to approach thinking about your daily life - the ways in which you understand yourself, others and the shape of our interactions. Even more, you are invited (and challenged) to think about your life in 2018, by means of theories and concepts coined in the 19th and 20th centuries. In this course, social theory (ST) is presented as a conceptual grammar and disciplinary approach that makes such thinking possible.

ST's purpose is to help us to think about the myriad types of social relations that underpin the economic, scientific, political and cultural spheres of our lives; to understand their historical transformations and distinct genealogies; and to imagine future challenges and collective responses.

Course objectives


  • The ability to use classical ST to identify, understand, analyze, and address current social problems and global challenges.

  • The capacity to appreciate the strengths and limits of foundational western social thought and examine the relevance of classic thinkers and ideas today.


  • A broad understanding of how and why classical social theories emerged in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in sociology and anthropology. Students will analyze how these concepts examined and explained social change, and their varied legacies on contemporary social science paradigms.

  • A sociologically and anthropologically informed and critically alert way of thinking about social aspects of their daily life.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Two weekly meetings spread over seven weeks comprise the structure of the course. The seminars are grounded in lectures that address the assigned authors, their key ideas, and their imprint on contemporary social science. themes. You are expected to prepare for each class in a twofold manner: by (i) studying the material required for each session and (ii) thinking about its applicability today. Students are expected to both inculcate the foundational tenets of social theory as well as to apply what you have learned to concrete, contemporary, and ordinary situations


  • Participation - 10%

  • Performing the classics (group work) – 30%

  • Mid-term exam – 30%

  • Final essay – 30%


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list



This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Ajay Gandhi,
Dr. Daniela Vicherat-Mattar,