Foundations of Modern Social Theory

Course Dates: Open-ended
Enrollment Dates: Enroll Anytime
Who can Enroll: Anyone
Course Language: English
Price: FREE

About the Course

This course provides an overview of major works of social thought from the beginning of the modern era through the 1920s. Attention is paid to social and intellectual contexts, conceptual frameworks and methods, and contributions to contemporary social analysis. Writers include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Marx, Weber, and Durkheim.


Durkheim, Émile. The Division of Labor. New York: The Free Press, 1984.

Durkheim, Émile. The Rules of Sociological Method. New York: The Free Press, 1966.

Durkheim, Émile. Suicide. New York: The Free Press, 1951.

Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. Translated by James Strachey. New York: W.W. Norton, 1961.

Freud, Sigmund. The Ego and Id. New York: W.W. Norton, 1960.

Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Edited by Crawford Brough Macpherson. Penguin Classics, 1985.

Locke, John. “Second Treatise of Government,” in Two Treatises of Government. Edited by Peter Laslett. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Marx, Karl. Capital. Vol. 1. Translated by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling. Edited by Frederick Engels. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1912.

Marx, Karl. Capital. Vol 3. Translated by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling. Edited by Frederick Engels. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1967.

Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels. Collected Works. Vols. 1, 3, 5, 6. Translated by Richard Dixon et al. New York: International Publishers, 1975-1976.

Marx, Karl. Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations. Translated by Jack Cohen. New York: International Publishers, 1965.

Mill, John Stuart. The Subjection of Women. Edited by Susan Moller Okin. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1988.

Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism, On Liberty. London: Everyman, 1993.

Montesquieu, Charles de. The Spirit of the Laws. Translated and edited by Anne M. Cohler, Basia Carolyn Miller, and Harold Samuel Stone. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Genealogy of Morality. Edited by Keith Ansell-Pearson. Translated by Carol Diethe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Émile, or On Education. Introduction and translation by Allan Bloom. New York: Basic Books, 1979.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Of the Social Contract, in The Social Contract and Other Later Political Writings. Edited and translated by Victor Gourevitch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Edited by Edwin Cannan. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1976.

Weber, Max. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. 2 vols. Edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.

Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by Talcott Parsons with a new introduction by Anthony Giddens. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY, 1958.

About the Professor

Iván Szelényi is Dean of Social Sciences at NYU Abu Dhabi. When “Foundations of Modern Social Theory” was recorded for Open Yale Courses, he was William Graham Sumner Professor of Sociology and Professor of Political Science at Yale. Professor Szelenyi, who specializes in the comparative study of social stratification across cultures over time, received his Ph.D. from Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1973, and is the author of The Intellectuals on the Road to Class Power, Urban Inequalities Under State Socialism, Socialist Entrepreneurs, Making Capitalism Without Capitalists,Poverty, Ethnicity and Gender in Eastern Europe During the Market Transition (with R. Emigh), and Theories of the New Class: Intellectuals and Power (with L. King, 2004). His most recent book Patterns of Exclusion was published in 2006 and was awarded the Karl Polanyi Prize.

License Information

Iván Szelényi, SOCY 151: Foundations of Modern Social Theory (Yale University: Open Yale Courses), (Accessed March 12, 2015). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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