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intellectual foundations of social theory.

COURSE:  MC52014A Intellectual Foundations of Social
AUTUMN TERM 2014
SUBMISSION DATE: 4pm Wednesday 17 December 2014 online (via the VLE)
LENGTH: 2,000 words (please note that visiting students are required to submit a 1500 word essay directly to the Media & Communications Departmental Office by Thursday 4 December)
EXAMINED ESSAY QUESTIONS
Answer one of the following:

1. To what extent do Enlightenment principles like freedom, universalism and empiricism inform our understanding of contemporary cultural processes?
2. Marx writes that when an object is turned into a commodity, ‘it is changed into something transcendent’. Discuss this claim in relation to media objects.
3. Compare and contrast the differences between Marx and Weber’s understanding of the importance of social stratification.
4. Drawing on Weber’s metaphor of an ‘iron cage’, discuss the ways in which modern society has been ‘rationalised’ and ‘bureaucratised’.
5. According to Simmel, fashion is a social process and a product of class distinction. Discuss in relation to contemporary fashion movements.
6. What does Durkheim’s analysis of social solidarity tell us about the reproduction of contemporary societies?
7. Discuss the fundamental characteristics of media power and assess its relationship to other forms of power.
8. Evaluate the role of media in the ‘performance’ of gender.
9. Do you agree with the argument that ‘postmodernism describes the emergence of a society in which the mass media and popular culture are the most important and powerful institutions, and control and shape all other types of social relationships’ (Strinati, 2004: 205)?
10. Giving examples, explain how the media are involved in the cultural construction of ‘race’.
11. Economic globalisation is possible while cultural globalisation is not. Discuss.

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