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Critical Readings in Social Theory (SO9A7-20)

Topics covered

The following is an indicative list of topics for this module; precise seminar content may change from year to year.

  • Introducing Capitalism and Schizophrenia - Deleuze and Guattari in Context

Readings from Anti-Oedipus:

  • The Desiring Machines
  • Savages, Barbarians, Civilised
  • Introduction to Schizo-Analysis

Readings from A Thousand Plateus:

  • Rhizome; One or Several Wolves
  • Micro-politics and Segmentarity
  • Becoming Intense, Becoming-Animal, Becoming Imperceptible...
  • Treatise on Nomadology
  • The Smooth and the Striated
  • Concrete Rules and Abstract Machines
Timing and CATS

This module will run in the Spring Term and is worth 20 CATS.

Programme content

Critical Readings in Social Theory is an advanced module for taught MA students and doctoral students. It is appropriate for post-graduate students who can illustrate some previous engagement with social, political or cultural theory. The module revolves around close and critical readings of a significant and controversial set text. The set text will change every year.

The text selected will be a 'Critical Work' in social and political thought - both in the sense of being a work in social, political and cultural critique, and in the sense of marking a 'critical juncture' - having transformed thinking across boundaries of discipline, geography and time. For example key works by Arendt, Benjamin, Delezue and Guattari, Fanon, Simmel or Stengers.

The emphasis will be on close and critical readings of the set text and we will work through a chapter of the text in each seminar. Through such indepth engagment with a specific text students will develop highly sophisticated skills of analysis, critique and understanding. When writing their essays students will be expected to draw upon a range of literatures, including work that has influenced - and work that has been influenced by or has critiqued - the set text.

Whereas other MA theory modules offered in the faculty (such as Political and Social Thought) are organised around particular issues, and the broad developments pertainig to those issues, this module is organised around a specific influential text - and thus a critical junture or event within those broader developments. As such the module complements existing theory teaching by offering the opportunity to engage in depth analysis and to develop advanced skills of close critical reading.

Module Director:
Claire Blencowe

Sample reading list (PDF Document)


Theory and Methodologies Research Cluster

Sociology Prospective Postgraduates