Contemporary Sociological Theories


1. Knowledge and understanding of the main contemporary sociological theories; 2. Ability to identify theoretical perspectives of contemporary sociology in substantive theoretical propositions; 3. Ability to critically compare the potentials and gaps of different theoretical perspectives; 4. Ability to mobilize adequate theoretical perspectives according to specific problems and empirical objects; 5. Ability to identify and control the incorporation, selection and bias effects of contemporary theoretical perspectives on research objects; 6. Ability to communicate in an accurate and meaningful way the fundamentals of contemporary sociological theories.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

João Afonso de Bivar Sedas Nunes


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language



Available soon


Giddens, A., & Turner, J (1987). Social theory today. Polity Press. Elliott, A. (2009). Contemporary social theory: an introduction. Routledge. Lahire, B. (2005). L´esprit sociologique. La Découverte. Mattos, P. (2006). A sociologia política do reconhecimento. As contribuições de Charles Taylor, Axel Honneth e Nancy Fraser. Annablume. Nachi, M. (2009). Introduction à la sociologie pragmatique. Armand Colin. Turner, B.S. (Ed.) (2002). Teoria social. Difel.

Teaching method

Teaching method a) Lectures (covering 55% of all classes); these aim at the presentation, discussion and clarification of the course´ theoretical contents. b) practical classes (45%): dedicated to assess students adquired competencies either through tests or small \"practical\" papers, concerning parts or the course´s subjects totality. 

Evaluation method

Método de avaliação - Written test focusing on all of the course´s contents, worthing 40% of the final grade(40%), two intermediate tests ( that may be replaced or supplemented by \"practical\" papers), each to be worth 30% of final grade.(60%)

Subject matter

1. Structuralist and functionalist perspectives T. Parsons’ structural-functionalism and R. K. Merton ́s functionalism Interdependence and historicity in N. Elias Power and social order in M. Foucault 2. Interactionist perspectives H. Garfinkel’s ethnomethodology E. Goffman’s frames of experience Phenomenological constructivism: A. Schutz, H.S. Becker and P. Berger and T. Luckmann 3. Theoretical synthesis The structural-constructivism of P. Bourdieu The structuration theory of A. Giddens 4. Recent developments 4.1. Multiple, plural and reflexive actors: J. Elster, F. Dubet and B. Lahire 4.2. New uses of the notion of critique: from the pragmatic sociology of L. Boltanski and L. Thévenot to the struggle for recognition in A. Honneth 4.3. Debating society and modernity The risk society of U. Beck Liquid modernity in Z. Bauman The singuralist society of D. Martucelli The relevance of the sociological concept of society: a final debate with A. Elliott and B. S. Turner.



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