Course syllabus



SOCIOL 700: Advanced Problems in Sociological Theory

SEMESTER 1, 2018

30 points

Course Convenor: 



 Ciara Cremin -

Course delivery format:

E.g. - 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of tutorial

(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)

 Summary of Course Description:              

 Max Horkheimer wrote that critical theory sheds "critical light on present-day society ... under the hope of radically improving human existence". Advanced Problems in Sociological Theory takes this approach. Theory is deployed as a tool to understand and explain the embedded structures and relationships that give form to life and weapon to bring about their transformation.

Each semester the course will be organised around two or three major contributions to critical thinking such as Marx, Adorno, Lacan, Foucault, and Deleuze and Guattari. Students utilise concepts from these thinkers to develop projects of their own that critically interrogate phenomena of their choice. Having decided on a theoretical angle, students will initially work together to developing their understanding of it. They will then apply the theory to examine a social problem or issue. 

Students in the past have studied a wide variety of topics – for, example, protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street; social media and group think; the Māori struggle; feminism and commodification; the ideology of videogames and so on. Students who have taken the course have published their work and gone on to do MAs and PhDs developing from their projects.

In 2018, the course theme is Lacan avec / contre Deleuze, two of the most influential, and seemingly incompatible, thinkers of the 20th century whose work is a touchstone across a number of scholarly fields. 



Week 1. Introduction to course and explanation of format

Week 2. Volunteers from the previous week do a short introduction to a basic set text on / by Deleuze and Lacan (unassessed) followed by a class discussion and short lecture

Week 3. Lecture on Lacan

Week 4. Volunteer introduces set text on Lacan followed by class discussion and short lecture

Week 5. As per week 4

Week 6. How to write for publication in international journal

Week 7. Students give short unassessed presentations on their first essay prior to submission in week 8

Week 8. Lecture on Deleuze

Week 9. Volunteer introduces set text on Deleuze followed by class discussion and short lecture

Week 10. As per week 9

Week 11. Panel discussion on working with Deleuze and Lacan

Week 12. Students give short unassessed presentations on their second essay prior to submission in week 14


 Course outcomes:

E.g. A student who successfully completes this course will have the opportunity to:

  • acquire knowledge of and apply it to x situations
  • understand and carry out [practical skills]
  • acquire skills in report writing, critical thinking, academic literacy/ numeracy/ oral presentation etc.

 Assessment Summary:

2 X 6000 word essays

Essay one: On Lacan or that applies Lacan to a sociological issue of your choice

Essay two: On Deleuze or on Deleuze and Lacan or that applies Deleuze to a sociological issue of your choice

Weekly Topics:


Prescribed Texts:

Optional info depending on course requirements

 Recommended Texts:

Optional info depending on course requirements

 Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.

Course summary:

Date Details