Graduate Studies in Sociology Department of Sociology University College Cork

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НазваниеGraduate Studies in Sociology Department of Sociology University College Cork
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Course Objectives

Globalization can be characterized as the increasing connectedness between people and places. Some of the key ways in which this connectedness is created is through technologies such as phone, Internet and fax, the greater use of air travel, global media news coverage and the spread of global capitalism. As people become more influenced by these elements of globalization, they become less limited by the culture of the specific place they live in. The distinctiveness of places themselves also becomes eroded by the influence of international chains of shops and restaurants and the pervasiveness of elements of global culture such as global English. For some this process of deterritorialization is a positive development allowing them to reject the limitations of local and national cultures. For others, who are deeply enmeshed in their cultures, the process of globalization represents a threat to their sense of identity. At the transnational level, non-stop flows of images, information and people via communication technologies have spawned intense debate about the impact of globalization on cultural diversity. Sociologists have made a significant contribution to this debate as they document and analyze the subtle and innovative ways that people formulate identities and meanings within the globalized political, economic and cultural systems that now increasingly encompass them.

This advanced seminar provides you with the opportunity to explore the rich body of literature on the complex relationship between globalization and culture. Theoretical perspectives within Sociology are utilized to explore how cultural changes linked to globalization have impacted on relationships between trans-national institutions, states, regions, ethnic groups and local communities. A second focus of the course is to examine the role of communication technologies and the mass media in creating new forms of hybridity in the global cultural context. We will consider the impact of globalization on individual, collective and national identities, as identity plays a key role in how we experience culture. Finally, the variable ways in which individuals, collectivities and states have been differentially affected by, responded to, resisted and/or sought autonomy from increasingly globalized economic and cultural conditions will be examined through exploration of movements of resistance to globalization.


This course will run over four intensive one-day workshops each focusing on a specific theme. Students are expected to read all of the five pieces of the course material set for each workshop prior to attendance.

Workshop One – Definitions and Mechanisms of Globalization

Within the social sciences, globalization has become a deeply contested term. Within the global public sphere, it has become linked to range of controversial political and economic ideologies. This first workshop seeks to interrogate these debates in order to develop a more complete understanding of globalization. The main objectives of this first workshop are:

  1. To interrogate of sociological and popular definitions of globalization in order to develop a more advanced understanding of the concept.

  2. To examine the role of communications and travel technologies in generating globalization and explore how these technologies transform human relationships

  3. To critically engage with the sociological literature which explores how these technologies which transform the relationship between time and space change the individual’s understanding and engagement with the world

Readings to be prepared for workshop

Held, D & A. McGrew (eds) (2002) ‘The Great Globalization Debate’ In Global Transformations Reader. Cambridge: Polity Press

Giddens A. (1990) Chapter One from The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press

Robertson, R. (1995) Time-Space and Homogeneity – Heterogeneity in M. Featherstone and S. Lash (eds) Global Modernities. London: Sage

Barrangwanath, L. ‘Escaping the Grove of Globalisation: Distentangling description, discourse and action. New Zealand Sociology. Vol 19, No. 2 2004: 299-320

Graham, S. ‘The end of geography or the explosion of place? Conceptualizing space, place and information technology’. Progress in Human Geography. 22 (1998): 165-185

Workshop Two – Globalization and Inequality (Economic, Political and Cultural Dimensions)

Although globalization is a phenomenon that has crept into every corner of the world, some locations have become more ‘globalized’ than others. Thus, globalization is an inherently unequal and uneven process. The main focus on this workshop is to interrogate the various dimensions of this inequality within globalization and the following themes will be explored.

  1. Globalization, economics and inequality: focusing specifically on the role of global economic institutions in generating unequal economic structure. This discussion will focus not only on the role of globalization in generating inequality between countries at a global level but also the role of globalization in generating inequality within societies between different socio-economic groups

  2. Globalization and Politics. This review will examine the weakness of global political institutions, the continuing dominance of American political influence and the rise of China as a political force. It will also examine the question of war within globalization

  3. The final segment of the workshop focuses on these economic and political inequalities within globalization generate potential for cultural inequalities

Readings to be prepared for workshops

Massey, D. (1993) ‘Power Geometry and a progressive sense of place’ in Bird et al. Mapping the Futures. London: Routledge

Stiglitz, J. (2002) ‘The Promise of Global Institutions’ in Globalization and its Discontents. London: Penguin

Appadurai, A. (1990) ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Economy’ in M. Featherstone (ed) Global Culture. London: Sage

Held, David (2003) ‘Cosmopolitanism: Taming Globalisation’ from Global Transformations Reader. London: Blackwell.

Kalb, D. ‘From flows to violence: Politics and knowledge in the debates on globalization and empire’. Anthropological Theory (2005) 5: 176-204

Workshop Three – Globalization and Identity (Resistances, Hybridities and Reconciliations)

This workshop examines the variety of ways in which individuals, communities, ethnic minorities and nation-states have engaged with globalizations. It explores the tension between the distinctiveness of local place-based identities and the lure of global cultural forms. Three pathways for mapping the relationship between globalization and identity are examined.

1. Resistances: This section of the course will examined the rise of ‘so-called’ fundamentalisms. It will examine the globalized nature of these phenomena and explore how they pose a challenge to the ‘values’ within globalization.

2. Accommodation: This segment will focus on the sociological literature which examines the range of reconciliations which have emerged between global cultures and local identities. This included work on hybridized culture, creolisation and glocalisation.

3. Embracing Global Culture: This final section examines whether a case can be made for the emergence of a dominance global culture which will dominate local identities and examines the pressures faced by minorities to embrace this culture out of economic necessity. The discussion will focus specifically on the question of language and the rise of ‘global English’

Readings to be prepared for workshops

Hannerz, U. (1990) ‘Cosmopolitans and Locals in World Cultures’ in M. Featherstone (ed) Global Culture. London: Sage

Pietersee, J.N. (1995) ‘Globalization as Hybridization’ in M. Featherstone and S. Lash (eds) Global Modernities. London: Sage

Robbins, Kevin (2002) ‘Encountering Globalization’ D. Held & A. McGrew (eds) The Global Transformations Reader. Cambridge: Polity

Khatib, L (2003) ‘Communicating Islamic Fundamentalism as Global Citizenship’. Journal of Communication Inquiry 27: 389-409.

Kayman. M (2004) ‘The State of English as a global language: Communicating Culture’. Textual Practice 18 (1): 1-22

Workshop Four – Globalization, Culture and Ireland

Having been listed as one of the most globalized countries in the world by Foreign Policy in 2002, Ireland presents one of the most interesting contexts in which to examine the risks and benefits of a whole-hearted engagement with globalization. This final workshop seeks to link some of the literature which has emerged around globalization in Ireland with the themes which have been interrogated in the other three workshops.

This day’s discussion will focus on four questions:

  1. Rich and poor: How did the generation of a new ‘economic’ elite via globalization change Irish society? How did the exclusion of the poor from the benefits of globalization impact on Irish society?

  2. Globalization, Ireland and Values. A rapid form of globalization occurred in Irish society at the same time as secularization and the exposure (via tribunals) of the weakness of Irish civic culture and citizenship in Ireland. What are the values which now define Irish society?

  3. Globalization, Identity and Irishness: During the Celtic Tiger period, many aspects of Irish culture were turned into commodities while Ireland itself, became more culturally diverse (via immigration). In Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, what does it now mean to be Irish?

  4. Having embraced globalization so enthusiastically, where is Ireland now located within global economic, political and cultural hierarchies?

Readings to be prepared for workshops

Fagan, Honor (2003) ‘Globalized Ireland or contemporary transformations of national identity?’ in The End of Irish History, Coulter & Coleman (eds). Manchester: Manchester UP.

Smith, Nicola (2004) Deconstructing ‘globalisation’ in Ireland’ Politics and Policy Vol 32, No 4.: 503-19.

Van der Bly, Martha (2007) ‘Globalisation and the Rise of One Heterogeneous World Culture: A Micro-perspective of a Global Village’. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 48, 2-3: 234-256

O’Hearn, Denis (2003) Macro economic policy in the Celtic Tiger: A critical re-assessment’ in The End of Irish History, Coulter & Coleman (eds). Manchester: Manchester UP

Kerr, Aphra and Roddy Flynn (2003) ‘Revisiting Globalisation through the movie and digital games industries. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies Vol 9, no. 1: 91-113.


The assessment of the course is completed through attendance, presentations and the submission of a 5,000 seminar paper on the following theme:

Critically assess the process of globalization as a process of transformation in light of at least two of the following themes

  • relationship between time and space

  • transformation of the global economy

  • relationship between power and inequality

  • identity, culture and resistance to globalization

  • globalization as a process of transformation in Irish society

Globalization and Culture Reading List

Albrow, M. and King, E. (eds) Globalization, Knowledge and Society, London: Sage Publications

Anderson, Benedict 1983 Imagined Communities. London: Verso

Appadurai, Arjun 1990 ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Economy’ In Featherstone, Mike (ed) Global Culture: Nationalism, Globalization and Modernity. London: Sage

Castells, Manuel 1997 The Power of Identity, London: Blackwell

Featherstone, Mike 1987 ‘Lifestyle and Consumer Culture’ Theory, Culture and Society. 4(1): 55-70.

Hall, Stuart 1990 ‘Cultural Identity and Diaspora In Rutherford, J (ed) Identity: Community, Culture and Difference. London: Lawrence and Wishart.

Hannerz, Ulf 1991 ‘Scenarios for Peripheral Cultures’ in King, A. (ed) Culture, globalization and the world system. London: Sage

Herman, Edward and Noam Chomsky 1994 Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. London and New York: Random House.

Hourigan, Niamh 2003 Escaping the Global Village: Media, Language and Protest. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books

Jenkins, Richard 2004 Social Identity. London: Routledge

Keep, Christopher and Tim McLoughlin 1995 Marshall McLuhan and the Gutenberg Galaxy. Virginia: The Marshall McLuhan Centre for Global Communications.

Massey, Doreen 1993 ‘Power Geometry and a progressive sense of place’ In J. Bird et al (eds) Mapping the Future: Global Cultures, Local Change. London: Routledge.

McLuhan, Marshall 1964 Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man New York: Macmillan.

Morley, David 2000 Home Territories: Media, Mobility and Identity. London: Routledge

Norris, Pippa 2000 ‘Global Governance and Cosmopolitian Citizens’ In Held, D and Anthony McGrew (eds) Global Transformations Reader. Cambridge: Polity

Ogan, Christine 2001 Communication and Identity in the Diaspora. Lanham, Md: Lexington Books

Pieterse, Jan Nederveen 1995 ‘Globalization as Hybridisation’ in M. Featherstone et al (eds) Global Modernities. London: Sage

Ritzer, George 1996 The McDonaldisation of Society. Newbury Park: Sage

Robertson, R. 1992 Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture, London: Sage

Robins, Kevin (1997) ‘Encountering Globalization’ In Held, D and Anthony McGrew (eds) Global Transformations Reader. Cambridge: Polity

Schiller, Herbert 1969 Mass Communication and the American Empire. New York: Augustus M. Kelly

Schiller, Herbert 1985 ‘Electronic Information Flows: New Basis for global domination in Drummond, P and R. Patterson (eds) Television in Transition. London: British Film Institute.

Schlesinger, Philip ‘On National Identity: Some Conceptions and Misconceptions Criticised’ Social Science Information 26: (2) 219-264.

Scholte, J. A. 2000 Globalization: A Critical Introduction. London: Palgrave

Sklair, Leslie 2002 Globalization: Capitalism and its Alternatives (3rd Edition) Oxford: Oxford: University Press.

Smith, Anthony D. 1990 ‘Towards a Global Culture’ in Featherstone, Mike (ed) Global Culture: Nationalism, Globalization and Modernity. London: Sage

Smith, Anthony, 1991 National Identity. London: Penguin

Tomlinson, John (2000) ‘Globalization and Cultural Identity’ In Held, D and Anthony McGrew (eds) Global Transformations Reader. Cambridge: Polity

Veblen. Thorstein 1970 The Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Mentor (first published by Macmillan, New York in 1899)

Waters, M. 2001 Globalisation. London: Routledge

The module is held during the first term

Social Pathology and Civic Health

SC6627 / SC7627

Dr. Kieran Keohane

"Neither the life [or the health] of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both" C. Wright Mills (1959) The Sociological Imagination

There are a number of illnesses, diseases and medical syndromes prevalent in contemporary society, both in Ireland and internationally, that have become Public Health concerns. These include, but are not limited to the following: Suicide and Deliberate Self-Harm (DSH); Depression, anxiety and affective disorders; Eating disorders, ranging from obesity to Anorexia & Bulimia; Substance abuse, especially alcohol, and in particular 'binge drinking', and associated violent disorder; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on the one hand, and insomnia on the other; Traffic deaths and injuries; Autistic Spectrum Disorders, e.g. attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, Speech & Language Disorder, etc.; Stress and stress related illnesses; Sexually transmitted diseases, and a florid proliferation of libidinal excesses; fetishistic and compulsive ‘addictions’ of some form or another –‘shopholics’, ‘gambling addicts’ ‘sex-addicts’, the ‘extreme’ pursuits of the adrenalin junkie etc; Gerontological problems of loneliness, isolation and despair; ‘Borderline’ conditions, ranging from Social Anxiety Disorder to new forms of dissociative psychoses and personality disorders. These conditions present clinically in terms of individualized symptoms, and they have demographic and epidemiological profiles. However, they are represented discretely, as though for the most part unrelated to each other, and they are responded to in the same way: each having its own professional discourse of etiology, diagnostics, therapeutics, as well as a task force developing health strategy and policy recommendations and interventions.

But overarching and underpinning this, these diseases also have a sociological profile, one that transcends the particularity of their symptomology and their discrete etiologies. These are diseases related to cultural pathologies of the social body and disorders of the collective esprit de corps of contemporary society, manifest at the level of individual patients' bodies. These social pathologies arise from individual and collective experiences of profound and drastic social changes and cultural shifts. These changes include: the experience of accelerated modernization; the dissolution and reconfiguration of social institutions such as the family; the loss of cherished values and ideals; risk, and the amplification of prudentialism; the ‘flexibilization’ of contemporary employment and the consequent accentuation of performance and mobility, as well as the disintegration of socialization, identity forming and character-building structures. The sources, as well as the responses to these contemporary ‘epidemics’ is to be found in understanding their historical socio-genesis. The interpretive frameworks within which these (and several other) pathologies may be understood include anomie, nihilism, and liminality associated with the experience of living through intensively experienced and extensive social change.

There is a historical specificity to these diseases, ailments and syndromes: the content is unique to our time and place, but the form bears comparison with previous moral crises of civilization, and with the history of disorders of the spirit of modernity in particular. For example, our epidemic of depression in an age of globalization resembles the melancholia of the cusp of the Renaissance and the characteristic 'spleen' or ennui associated with the intense experience of modern urban life in the mid 19th Century. We will also attempt to identify a ‘patient zero’ of the present epidemic(s) an ideal type / prototype subject in whom the social pathologies of contemporary culture first become manifest. The seminar will draw from a range of sociological, historical, literary, psychoanalytical and philosophical sources to explore how the spiritual condition of our time and place -Ireland, experiencing accelerated modernization under conditions of globalization, is manifest pathologically individually and collectively. Classical material –Durkheim on amnesia and anomie; Weber and Nietzsche on nihilism; Marx and Benjamin on alienation and fetishism- will be read through more contemporary lenses: Lacan and Bataille on the existential conditions of contemporary psychoses; Foucault, on the nemesis of technologies of the self; Giddens on de-structuration and the fragmentation of practical consciousness; Beck on risk, individuation and prudentialism; Sennett on post-Fordist economic organization and the corrosion of character; Jameson on postmodernism and cultural schizophrenia; Bourdieu on post-welfare barbarism; Habermas on the post-national constellation; amongst others.

These substantive problems, issues and perspectives will in turn be formulated in the light of three contemporary debates:

First, the groundbreaking reformulation of questions of public health and public policy in the context of globalization pioneered by the English epidemiologists Marmot and Wilkinson who persuasively elucidate the link between the emerging social forms of globalization and the social health gradient, interrogating such key terms as ‘quality of life’ and ‘well-being’, and implicitly raising for us the question of to the extent to which Ireland’s current socio-economic model is particularly pathogenic? Second, the critical interpretive paradigm developed by the German neo-Hegelian Axel Honneth, and his ongoing debate with the Marxist-Feminist Nancy Frazer, the so-called ‘Recognition / Redistribution debate,’ within whose terms disorders of the collective body politic appear as expressions of mis- or mal- recognition on the one hand or (or and / or) of material distribution on the other. Third, we will revisit Durkheim's work on Moral Education, as a public policy response to the moral and spiritual pathologies of the Third Republic, and we will examine the recent work of O’Neill on ‘civic capitalism’ and inter-generational solidarity and the problems of taxation and global domestic policy in the post-national constellation.

Mode of Delivery. It will be delivered in the form of Four x One-Day intensive seminars, supported by online resources (Blackboard). The dates of these seminars are as follows:


Students must attend at least 3 full days of the 4, and participate in classroom discussions. In addition, students will write a major research paper (max 5,000 words) on a topic to be negotiated with the course director. For example, students may develop a research paper around a particular disease, sociologically interpreting its etiology, symptomology and epidemiology in terms of its sources, course and effects; or, they may choose to focus more generally on the historical and sociological moral pathology and spiritual malaise of our times; or they may wish to engage systematically with one of the current debates mentioned above.


Some of the key readings for this module are listed below. Additional sources (books, articles, films, art, etc) will be recommended in class.

Baudelaire, C. ‘Paris Spleen’; ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ ‘Artificial Paradises’ (excerpts on ‘le gout pour l’infini’); ‘’Critical method’ from Selected Writings on Art and Artists, pps 115 -124; ‘The Slough of Despond’ from E. Starkie Baudelaire: A Biography

Baudrilliard, J. (1985) The Ecstasy of Communication New York: Semiotext(e)

Bauman, Z. (1995) Life in Fragments ‘Acceleration and its discontents’pps 77-88

Benjamin, J (1989) The Bonds of Love

Benjamin, W. (1999) excerpts from Selected Wtitings vols I,II, III ‘A Berlin Childhood around 1900’

Bodensen, M. (1996) Benjamin: A biography London: Verso

Cullen, P. (2004) Growth: the Celtic Cancer Dublin: FEASTA

Durkheim, E. excerpts from: Suicide; Moral Education; Division of Labour

Fanon, F. (1970) ‘Colonial war and mental disorder’ in The Wretched of the Earth

Ferguson, H. (1995) Melancholy and the Critique of Modernity London: Routledge

Frazer, N. & Honneth, A. (2003) Redistribution or Recognition? London: Verso

Freud, S. Civilization & its Discontents pps 78 -104

Gadamer. H. G. (1996) The Enigma of Health Cambridge: Polity

Guralnick, P. (1999) Careless Love: The unmaking of Elvis Presley (excerpts).

Honneth, A. (1995) The Struggle for Recognition Cambridge (Mass) MIT Press

Jameson, F. (1991) Postmodernism, or the cultural logic of late capitalism Durham NC: Duke University Press.

Joyce, J. excerpts from Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist, Ulysses, Finnegans Wake, and Critical & Political Writings, plus: R. Elmann (1953) James Joyce; Schloss, C. L. (2004) Lucia Joyce: To dance in the wake London; Bloomsbury; L. Roudinesco Jacques Lacan (on Joyce’s symptom and Lacan’s megalomania)

Keohane, K. & Kuhling, C. (2004) Collision Culture: Transformations in Everyday Life in Ireland Dublin: The Liffey press

Kristevia, K.(1989) Black Sun: Depression & Melancholia pp33

Kristevia, K. (1995) New Maladies of the Soul New York: Columbia UP

Marmot, M. (2004) Status Syndrome London: Bloomsbury pps 13-36; 142- 195.

Kuhling, C. & Keohane, K. (2007) Cosmopolitan Ireland: Globalization and Quality of Life London: Pluto Press.

Mbembi, A. (2001) ‘The aesthetics of vulgarity’ in On the Postcolony Berkeley: U. of California Press

McLellan, D. The Thought of Karl Marx pps 117 - 133

Memmi, A. (1968) The Colonizer and the Colonized (and O’Dowd’s preface on Northern Ireland)

O’Neill (2004) Civic Capitalism Toronto: University of Toronto press

Panofsky, E. (1971) The Life and work of Albrecht Durer pps 156 -171

Pelzer, P. (2005) ‘The hostility triad [contempt, anger, disgust] the contribution of negative emotions to organizational unwellness’ Culture & Organization vol. 11, no.2 pps 111 123.

Petersen, A. (2004) ‘Work and Recognition’ Acta Sociologica vol 47(4) pps 338-350. & ‘Depression as a Social Pathology of Action’

Qvortrup, M. (2006) ‘Big fat Globalization: towards a sociology of obesity’ Aberdeen: The Robert Gordon University Press

Scheper Hughes, N. Saints, Scholars & Schizophrenics LA. U. of California Press pps 134 - 172

Sennett, R. (1998) The Corrosion of Character New York: Norton.

Shakespere, W. (2001) [1603] Hamlet London: Penguin Classics

Simmel, G. (1989) The Philosophy of Money London: Routledge pps 235 - 256

Solomon, M. (2000) Beethoven’Crisis and creativity’ pps 145-206

(and Beethoven: Symphony no. 9.)

Wilkinson, R. (2005) Health & Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier London: Routledge

Weber, M. (1976) The Protestant Ethic & the Spirit of Capitalism New York: Macmillan.

Wright-Mills, C. The Sociological Immagination pps 3-18

Zizek, S. (1990) Eastern Europe’s Republics of Gillead New Left Review 183 pps 50- 63


Each one-day seminar will consist of lectures, discussion and student presentations, with the emphasis moving progressively from didactic teaching, through discussion, towards students presenting their own work. The periods between the workshops are dedicated to assigned reading and self-directed study, supported by an online website on which additional resources will be posted as well as a discussion forum. The first seminar will outline and present the key hypotheses, paradigms, literature and perspectives of the module. Students’ interests will be aired and given an initial exploration, and students will be assigned readings with which to engage in preparation for the next workshop. The second and third workshops will develop and enlarge a number of substantive themes in the module, with discussion drawing from students’ reading in the meantime. Students’ own research interests will be discussed in light of materials engaged with thus far, and further readings will be assigned for the next session. At the fourth workshop students will be required to present synopses / critical commentary on assigned readings, and formulate for group discussion a topic on which they propose to write their seminar paper.

Civilisation and Globalisation: The Rise and Dynamics of the Modern World in the Context of Civilisational Analysis

SC6624 / SC7624

Professor Arpad Szakolczai

Aim of the course:

The course will provide a guide for understanding the processes that gave rise to the modern global world in which we all live, and which seem to define its dynamics, perhaps even seal its fate. It will proceed by reconstructing the internal logic of the long-term historical developments of which the modern world is the outcome, but will also situate these processes on the broadest possible horizon in space and time. Therefore emphasis will be placed on the rise and fall of civilisations over the course of history, a comparative analysis of Western and non-Western civilisations, and the comparative anthropology and mythology of cultures.


The course will be organised in four plus two one-day workshops (the plus two is for PhD students), in the first term, possibly condensed into three two-week periods. Those attending the course will have to write a final paper, on a theme to be agreed upon.

Draft course outline:

Workshop 1: Introduction; theoretical and methodological issues

  • approaches to modernity; modernity as crisis;

  • civilisation and Enlightenment; Enlightenment and misrecognition;

  • epistemology and methodology: three approaches to knowledge – object (positivism, concept, critique), experience (liminality, crisis), arche-image (eidos vs. ideal-type);

  • comparative theoretical background: concepts from anthropology – liminality (Victor Turner), the Trickster (Paul Radin), schismogenesis (Gregory Bateson), gift-relations, (Mauss), sacrificial mechanism (René Girard), home-world relations (Colin Turnbull); the general problem of rationality vs. imitation/ mimesis as anthropological constant or ethical/ normative concern;

  • historical methodology: genealogy (Nietzsche, Weber, Foucault), socio- and psychogenesis (Elias), historiogenesis (Voegelin), pathogenesis (Koselleck); the general problem of iterative embeddedness;

  • the auxiliary disciplines of comparative historical sociology: comparative archaeology, anthropology, mythology, literature, and the history of religions.

Workshop 2: Key figures in comparative civilisational analysis

  • the return of comparative civilisational analysis: Eisenstadt, Arnason, Pizzorno, Arjomand, Giesen, Schluchter, Wittrock, Bo Strath, Peter Wagner;

  • the background: Nietzsche, but also Kierkegaard, Burckhardt, Dilthey: civilisational unease, beyond Enlightenment optimism;

  • the central figure: Max Weber; seen through the Weber renaissance (Benjamin Nelson, Tenbruck, Hennis); revisiting the central paradox: charisma (and the entire problematic of ‘grace’ charis/ ‘asceticism’ askesis), ‘routinisation’ (Veralltäglichung), disenchantment (Entzauberung): Trickster vs. charismatic leader;

  • the most important heirs: Elias, Voegelin, Foucault;

  • complementary figures: Franz Borkenau, Lewis Mumford, Reinhard Koselleck, Philippe Ariès;

  • complementary perspectives: comparative mythology (Dumézil, Burkert, Fritz Graf), and history of religions (Kerényi, Hamvas, Eliade, Brelich); masks and personhood.

Workshop 3: The genealogy of comedy: on the role played by comedy in the rise and functioning of the modern world

  • the origins of theatre: Nietzsche, Cornford;

  • the sociology and philosophy of laughter, humour and and: Baudelaire, Bergson, Huizinga;

  • the rise and fall of the Commedia dell’Arte, and Shakespeare as a theorist of comedy;

  • the blurring of boundaries between art and burlesque: visions of Pierrot and Harlequin in modern art;

  • novels as a way of gaining access to the heart of the present: René Girard, Pietro Citati, Béla Hamvas; Thomas Mann, Michail Bulgakov, Karen Blixen.

Workshop 4: The modern global age

  • the schismogenesis of modernity as the fragmentation of the Renaissance: predestination and Protestantism (Weber), court society etiquette and formalism (Elias), disciplinary society and absolutism (Foucault);

  • the Radical Enlightenment and the link between absolutism/ nationalism/ modern state/ democracy; capitalism/ commercialisation/ the ‘market’/ media world; and knowledge/ science/ information society;

  • the dynamics of wars and revolutions throughout the development of the modern world: chronologies shifted and reversed;

  • permanent liminality: a world shaped (‘created’) and ruled by Tricksters.

Workshop 5: Ancient civilisations – from the perspective of globalising processes

  • understanding the rise an fall of civilisations;

  • dark ages and rebirths;

  • Mediterranean vs. Middle Eastern civilisations: sea or land-based;

  • ‘stone age’ and the rise of metallurgy vs. exclusive primacy of agriculture;

  • the relationship between agriculture and settlement;

  • the spiralling logic of globalisation processes; axial age (Jaspers) and ecumenic age (Voegelin); the ‘first global age’ and its empires: Persian, Macedonian, Roman: meeting place for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern developments;

  • the rise of European civilisation and its paradoxes: anti-civilisational civilisation vs. the Weberian ‘religious rejections of the world’.

Workshop 6: The Renaissance and renascences in history

  • Renaissance vs. Reformation: the Renaissance as the revitalisation of the Minoan/ Greek tradition, and the Reformation as the revitalisation of the prophetic tradition;

  • (cultural) renascences and (monastic) reforms in the medieval period;

  • the uniqueness of the Duecento: harmony between Renaissance and Reform, and its reasons; the Renaissance ‘project’: the unity of the three elements of grace (theologico-spiritual, philosophico-aesthetical, socio-anthropological);

  • the High Renaissance: Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael, in context: the rise court society (especially the Papal court); the Verrocchio-Pollaiuolo controversy;

  • general theoretical framework: ‘grace’ vs ‘Trickster, or moving beyond Weber’s ‘charisma’.


As I have published extensively about most of the themes to be covered in the course, these publications will be the primary readings, comparable to course notes. These are available in the Library, in the Information Room, or on-line. They also contain and extensive secondary reading list. A more specific reading list will be distributed at the beginning of the course, updated at the start of each workshop.

Contemporary Ireland Postgraduate Seminar


Dr. Linda Connolly

Irish society has changed rapidly and profoundly in very recent years. Understanding the diverse social, economic, cultural and political processes in the transformation of Irish society/’Irishness’ both at the broader structural level and in the context of ‘everyday life’ is a complex endeavour for sociologists. Some of the changes since the 1990s include: the rapid demise of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy; decline and crisis in institutional religion; increasing in-migration/ multiculturalism combined with a new wave of emigration; widespread suburbanisation; changing gender roles; changing culture of work, including the expansion of the female work force; the crisis in care/community/health; intensification of poverty and a debt crisis in new marginalised groups; political apathy and corruption scandals; radical transformation in family life; and the transformation of intimacy/personal relationships/sexualities.

Several Sociologists have responded to all these developments by providing an in depth sociological examination of contemporary Ireland and ‘Irishness’ in all its diversity. This course engages with this field of research by exploring the notion of a changing Ireland in specific social and cultural arenas and by outlining different ways of understanding and theorising aspects of Irish society. In particular, the seminars in this course move beyond the prevailing economic/structural reading of the Celtic Tiger and its demise to look in detail at key aspects of ‘change’ as it has been experienced in the private as well as the public sphere. Four substantive areas are examined: FAMILY LIFE; GENDER RELATIONS; SEXUALITIES/THE TRANSFORMATION OF INTIMACY; MIGRATION. The seminar will encourage and support MA dissertation research in these arenas. Students will have to read a wide range of cutting edge research in each of these fields as well as current debates in social and cultural theory for this seminar. In addition, how the Irish experience is located in the comparative European context will also be addressed in each section of the course. The seminar therefore also has relevance to students who are interested in pursuing dissertation research on the substantive themes covered in other countries/contexts and at the level of theory.

Several commentators have identified ways in which the arenas of culture and society have been made subservient to the needs of the market in the new neo-liberal/Celtic Tiger Ireland. However, the intersection of the core themes in this seminar with the politics and projects of new social movements and identity politics in Ireland, including the women’s movement, the men’s/masculinities movement, anti-racist as well as anti-immigration movements, gay and lesbian movement, and the politics of the right (family values and pro-life campaigning, for example) are also a key concern. This seminar will identify the ways in which these movements offer a more critical understanding of how a politics of resistance to the new dominant economic order is equally affecting ‘life’ in Ireland and creating a political means to fashion an alternative present and future, as well as new identities, in Irish culture and society.

Specific readings (book chapters/articles) in the arena of both social theory and social research will be set on a week-by-week basis in this course. Readings that deal with advanced theoretical debates in relation to each theme as well as readings that are examples of substantive pieces of research on each theme being discussed will be set and discussed in class. Further readings/research will be made available in the offprint library.

This seminar is offered as an integral part of an MA (Irish Society) stream but is also available as a general option on the MA programme. It has some relevance to the health and civilisation stream as well as other streams (such as media, development and the public sphere) - as it deals with issues concerning care and caring in society, work/life balance, stresses on family life, gender relations, feminist theory, family diversity, sexualities, race and ethnicity and multiculturalism.


1. INTRODUCTION: Contemporary Ireland: New Challenges and Research Questions





~An extensive reading list, numerous articles and course outline for this seminar is available on throughout

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