SOW-SCS101
Comparative societal questions
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleSOW-SCS101
Credits (ECTS)3
CategoryMA (Master)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Social Sciences; Social and Cultural Sciences;
Lecturer(s)
Coordinator
prof. dr. M.J. Spierenburg
Other course modules lecturer
Examiner
prof. dr. M.J. Spierenburg
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. M.J. Spierenburg
Other course modules lecturer
Lecturer
dr. A.A.C. Tonnaer
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2019
Period
PER1  (02/09/2019 to 03/11/2019)
Starting block
PER1
Course mode
full-time
Remark
Please note: if you do not yet have a master's registration, you are not yet registered for the tests for this course.
Remarks-
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Pre-registrationNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
Aims
Objectives:
Knowledge: Students refresh and obtain knowledge of and insight in differences and similarities concerning the key societal questions posed in anthropology, sociology and development studies.
Skills: Students learn about raising questions to approach key societal issues.
Attitudes: Students learn to adopt a critical attitude towards the development of research questions.
 
Schedule
Week Date Topic Lecturer
1 6 Sept Introduction and organization of the course
 
All lecturers
2 13 Sept Lecture on Questions in Sociology Spierings
3 20 Sept Discussion based on assignments (1)
 
Spierings
4 27 Sept Lecture on Questions in Anthropology and Development Studies
 
 
Spierenburg
5 4 Oct Discussion based on assignments (2)
 
Spierenburg
6 10 Oct Lecture on Questions on Sustainable Development as a perspective in Development Studies
 
Knippenberg/Tonnaer
7 18 Oct Discussion based on assignments (3)
 
Knippenberg/Tonnaer
 
Literature overview per meeting
Meeting 2.
Arezki, R., Deininger, K., & Selod, H. (2013). What drives the global “land rush”?. The World Bank Economic Review, 29(2), 207-233.
Ferguson, J. (1997). Anthropology and its evil twin. “Development” in the constitution of a discipline. In: F. Cooper and R. Packard. International development and the social sciences: Essays on the history and politics of knowledge. Berkley: University of California Press, pp.150-175 (chapter available through google scholar).
Li, T. M. (2014). What is land? Assembling a resource for global investment. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 39(4), 589-602.
 
 
Meeting 4.
Coleman, J.S. (1994). A rational choice perspective on economic sociology. In Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology (1st edition), pp.166-180.  Princeton, N.J.: Prince­ton University Press.
Coleman, J.S. (1990). Foundations of Social Theory. London: Harvard University Press. Chapters 1 and 2.
Ultee, W.C. (2015). Problem Selection in the Social Sciences: Methodology, Pp. 49-55 In NJ.D. Wright (eds.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
 
 
Meeting 6 (t.b.c.).
Dobson, Andrew (1996. Environmental Sustainabilities: an analysis and a typology. Environmental Politics 5.3 (PP. 401-428).
Knippenberg, L. (1994).  Development and Modernity. In: Frans Schuurman and Luuk Knippenberg. Blinded by Rainbows: anti-modernist and modernist deconstructions of development. Saarbrücken: Verlag für Entwicklungspolitik Breitenbach (pp.90-106).
Knippenberg, L. (2004). Sustainable development. Scope. (pp. 1-14)
Redclift, M. (2005). Sustainable development (1987–2005): an oxymoron comes of age. Sustainable development, 13(4), 212-227
 
Assignments
Students prepare two-weekly an assignment. Students are expected to hand in the assignment on the Monday following the lecture, at the latest at 12:00. Students need to hand in a hardcopy as well as their digital version in Turnitin in Blackboard. Assignments are graded and the final grade for the course consists of the average of the three assignments. Students who fail an assignment cannot pass the course.
 
Assignment 1
The first assignment for the course Comparative Societal Questions focuses on the influence of theoretical frameworks – specifically in relation to the concept of development - on the formulation of research problems.
 
Assignment:
 
Search the internet for recent issues of:
Development and Change
European Journal of Development Research,
Journal of Peasant Studies,
Current Anthropology,
Social Anthropology,
Cultural Anthropology
 
Choose 4 articles and describe the main research problem/question, what the main theoretical assumptions about development of the authors are, and how these are reflected in the formulation of the research problem/question.
 
Hand in your assignment on September the 17th, at noon (12.00 hours) at the latest. We require both a soft copy through Brightspace, as well as a hardcopy. For assignment 1: the hardcopy should be left in the pigeonhole of Marja Spierenburg, Spinoza building A, 4th floor
 
Assignment 2
The second assignment for the course Comparative Societal Questions focuses on the hierarchy of questions that is often seen as important to structure problems in sociology. The assignment has also the goal to discover the similarities and differences between questions raised in sociology and anthropology.
 
The assignment consists of two questions. Answers should be handed in printed at the latest on Monday October 1, 2018, at 10.00 hours. Only then the teachers are able to check the assignments for the next meeting.
 
Question 1.
Go on the internet and search for a recent issue (from 2018) of the sociology journal European Sociological Review. Classify 5 articles after the main questions of sociology, and try to build problem structures. Search also for a recent issue of ‘Current Anthropology’ and of ‘Social Forces’, and try to incorporate from each 5 articles from these issues in the problem structures. What are the differences and similarities you encounter between the questions raised in the articles from the three journals? Limit your answer to a maximum of 2 pages.
 
Question 2.
Check out the recent contribution to ESR:
Zerrin Salikutluk, Stefanie Heyne; Do Gender Roles and Norms Affect Performance in Maths? The Impact of Adolescents’ and their Peers’ Gender Conceptions on Maths Grades. Eur Sociol Rev 2017; 33 (3): 368-381. doi: 10.1093/esr/jcx049.
Evaluate this contribution in relation to the Coleman literature. How well is the macro-micro-macro link present in the contribution? Limit your answer to half a page.

 
Assignment 3
Sustainable Development - LK
The third assignment for the course Comparative Societal Questions focuses on the theoretical assumptions and typology underlying the concept of sustainable development.
 
Assignment:
 
Browse the Internet and look for in total four publications (2005- 2018) in the below mentioned journals, which use the notion of sustainability in combination with climate change/global warming, biodiversity/nature or development /poverty alleviation
  • Describe the main research question, and the main argument of each article.
  • Clarify the underlying theoretical assumptions used by the authors about sustainability, using the typology developed Andrew Dobson, in his article Environment Sustainabilities: an analysis and a typology, Environmental Politics, 1986 5:3, 401-428,), i.e. A, B, C, D (see Dobson, p. 407).
Try the following journals
  1. Sustainable development
  2. Global environmental change
  3. Climate change
  4. Environmental Politics
  5. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
  6. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology
  7. Environmental Values
  8. World development.
Hand in a hard copy of your assignment (maximum 3 pages) October 15 2018, at 12.00 hours (in the pigeon hole of Luuk Knippenberg, at CAOS intitute Spinoza building A, floor 4) .
 
 
Content
Content
Historically, anthropology used to focus on pre-industrial societies whereas sociology used to focus on richer industrial societies. In the last decennia, both disciplines shifted their focus towards a broader range of societies. Development studies scholars study both the Global North and South, but focus on the Global South. Students will learn that the questions that are asked in these three social science disciplines with regard to organisationally and technologically different societies run parallel to a large extent. All three disciplines study how societal characteristics shape and influence individual and societal outcomes. In contrast to, for example psychology, they do not only focus on individuals but thus also explicitly incorporate societal characteristics in their subject matter, either as a cause (explanans) or consequence (explanandum). These societal characteristics encompass  institutions, narratives and technologies used by citizens in a society to provide for themselves, the level of inequality within society, and the extent to which cohesion (solidarity) exits and conflicts occur between population groups.
In the course, students study the subject matter from the three disciplines. They learn that anthropology asks questions on what keeps societies together, what fractures occur, what causes some societies to have higher or lower levels of inequality, and how societies participate in, respond to, and make sense of globalization. Students learn that sociology is a discipline that deals with three key questions relating to: inequality, cohesion and rationalisation/modernisation. Furthermore, students are given an introduction to development studies, learning that this discipline critically studies global social change, related to global flows of people and ideas, and transitions of economies, governments, political systems, and society in a context of globalization.
Both anthropologists and development studies scholars criticise concepts like ‘modernization’ and ‘development’, and look critically at how different actors interpret this term. This critical reflection was also triggered by a growing awareness about the need to pay attention to the ecological base of development, and how ecology is linked to human well-being. In the course, students will familiarize themselves with the debates about the concepts of development and sustainable development.
 
Level

Presumed foreknowledge

Test information

Specifics

Required materials
Articles
Ultee, W.C. (2015). Problem Selection in the Social Sciences: Methodology, Pp. 49-55. In NJ.D. Wright (eds.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Book
Coleman, J. S. (1990). Foundations of Social Theory. London: Harvard University Press. Chapters 1 and 2
Book
Knippenberg, L. (1994). Development and Modernity. In: Frans Schuurman and Luuk Knippenberg. Blinded by Rainbows: anti-modernist and modernist deconstructions of development. Saarbrücken: Verlag für Entwicklungspolitik Breitenbach (pp.90-106).
Articles
Knippenberg, L. (2004). Sustainable development. Scope. (pp. 1-14).
Articles
Dobson, Andrew (1996. Environment Sustainabilities: an analysis and a typology. Environmental Politics 5.3 (PP. 401-428).
Book
Ferguson, J. (1997). Anthropology and its evil twin. “Development” in the constitution of a discipline. In: F. Cooper and R. Packard. International development and the social sciences: Essays on the history and politics of knowledge. pp.150-175
Articles
Li, T. M. (2014). What is land? Assembling a resource for global investment. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 39(4), 589-602.
Book
Coleman, J.S. (1994). A rational choice perspective on economic sociology. In Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology (1st edition), pp.166-180. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Articles
Arezki, R., Deininger, K., & Selod, H. (2013). What drives the global “land rush”?. The World Bank Economic Review, 29(2), 207-233.
Articles
Redclift, M. (2005). Sustainable development (1987–2005): an oxymoron comes of age. Sustainable development, 13(4), 212-227

Instructional modes
Lecture
Attendance MandatoryYes

Seminars
Attendance MandatoryYes

Tests
Assignments 1
Test weight1
Test typeAssignment
OpportunitiesBlock PER1

Assignments 2
Test weight1
Test typeAssignment
OpportunitiesBlock PER1

Assignments 3
Test weight1
Test typeAssignment
OpportunitiesBlock PER1