The Social, The Ethical, and the Global [B] - Scott Schaffer
Recent decades have seen a vast number of changes in the structures and terrains of the social. Decolonisation, globalisation, the rise and fall of the nation-state, urbanisation, migration, multiculturalism and interculturalism, neoliberalism, the advent of the Internet and social networking, transformation in the structure of telecommunications, postcoloniality, the increasing distancing of time and space, pandemics -- all of these forces have reshaped, multiplied, and deconstructed traditional notions of the social. With the transformations that have moved our notion of community from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft to social forms that do not yet have names, we have also transformed our notion of the ethical, the persons to whom we have an ethical obligation, vectors of ethicality and the spaces within which we operate as ethical actors. And as an increasing number of phenomena draw us to look beyond our local, regional, and national borders to persons and events across the globe, we are compelled to consider what it means to have a global perspective, whether it is on events, social relations, suffering, or ethics.
This course will explore the ways in which changes in conceptions of the social have interpenetrated and impacted upon changing notions of the ethical. Starting with the classical works on conceptions of community and social membership, we will move forward to contemporary thought through an examination of the terrains of sociality - borders and boundaries, definitions of membership and citizenship, classificatory logics and social exclusion, and the varying forms of exclusionary inclusiveness that come about as a result of increased mobility, time space compression, the advent of the network society and social networks, decolonisation, and globalisation. As we move through the course, increasing attention will be paid to the epistemologies of the social and to the development of an epistemology of the global, focusing on the possible isomorphisms of social space as we move from the realm of experience to the realm of the ethical.
* Note: Students who are interested in the course are requested to arrange a meeting with the instructor prior to the start of Winter term.
Relation to Theory and Criticism:
B course - social theory. This course will deal with a wide variety of social theory, ranging from Tönnies to contemporary theorists such as Bauman, Castells, and others. As well, students will be asked in the course paper to develop their own critical theoretical perspective bridging the theoretical works and perspectives in the course with empirical cases discussed in the last section of the course.
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