Instructor: Kürşad Ertuğrul



Course Description


 This course aims to introduce and discuss changing conceptions of modernity in social and political theory from the mid-19th / early 20th to the early 21st century. The mediating dynamic of change between the conceptions of “early” and “late” modernity is described through changes in the political-economic organization of capitalism. This can be summed up as the transformation of nationally organized capitalism towards a disorganized, global capitalism. In the “new” sociology of the late-modern societies it is argued that contemporary societies take new forms and undergo new experiences as they are exposed to global uncertainties and complexity arising from the decomposition of “organized capitalism.” This course is designed with the expectation that the students will have a comprehensive understanding of changing forms of modernity from its inception to its novel forms in contemporary times.


Course Requirements


There will be a mid-term (30 points) and a final exam (40 points). Students are also expected to prepare a take-home essay which they will present in the class towards the end of the semester. For take-home essay, they will be asked to interpret a case from contemporary Turkey on the basis of a perspective to be selected from the course outline. (30 points)  


Course Outline




Week I:


Kant, I. “What is Enlightenment?”


Part I: Three basic perspectives in social sciences on modernity (3 weeks);


Week II: Bourgeois form of modernity


Engels, F. and Marx, K. (2006), “The Communist Manifesto,” in Marx, Later Political Writings, ed. T. Carver, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Week III: Modernity as “organic division of labor”


Coser, L. (1997), “Introduction,” in The Division of Labor in Society, New York: Free Press.

Durkheim, E. (1997), The Division of Labor in Society, New York: Free Press, pp.291-341.

Week IV: Territoriality and rationality of modernity


Weber, M. (1993), “Politics as Vocation” in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, London: Routledge, pp.77-128.


Part II: From embedded to unfettered capitalism (3 weeks);


Week V: “Organized” and “disorganised” capitalism


Lash, S. and Urry, J. (1988), The End of Organised Capitalism, Cambridge: Polity, pp.1-16.


Week VI: Post-industrialism and post-fordism


Allen, J. (1992), “Post-Industrialism and Post-Fordism” in Modernity and its Futures, eds. S. Hall, D. Held, T. McGrew, Cambridge: Polity, pp.169-220.


Week VII: Towards “denationalized state agendas and privatized norm-making”


Sassen, S.  (2006) Territory, Authority and Rights, Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp.222-271.


Part III: A “New” Sociology for the “Late-Modern” Society (3 weeks)


Week VIII:  “Solid modernity” vs. “Liquid modernity”


Baumann, Z. (2000), Liquid Modernity, Cambridge: Polity, pp.1-52.


Week IX: Complex/Quantum modernity


Urry, J. (2005), “The Complexity Turn,” Theory, Culture and Society, 22:5, pp.1-14.


Week X: Liminal modernity


Thomson, G. (2010), The New Political Sociology, London: Palgrave, pp.1-33.


Part IV: “New assemblages” in late-modernity


Week XI: “Mixed spatial and temporal orders”

Sassen, S. (2006), Territory, Authority, Rights, Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 378-398.


Part V: Student presentations of take-home essays on interpretations of cases from Turkey. (3 weeks)