Undergraduate Module Descriptor

SOC3122: Critical Theory: The Frankfurt School and Communicative Capitalism

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

This module studies concepts developed by the philosophers in the Freudo-Marxist Frankfurt School in the 20th century and the relevance or uptake of these concepts in contemporary critiques of society and capitalism.

The module aims to introduce you to critical analyses and reflections on the relationship between social structure and organisation and the individual in Modernity. This will be achieved through lectures on works by some predecessor theories, and some main proponents of critical theory, such as Karl Marx, Herbert Marcuse, Theodor W. Adorno, and Erich Fromm.

Three lecture sessions will introduce you to recent works in Critical Theory on alienation and freedom, the role of religion in the 21st Century and the formation of the self and social and political agency, looking at works by philosphers such as Jodi Dean, Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, Nancy Fraser and Christian Fuchs.

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2211 lecture/seminars (approx. 1 hr lecture and 1 hr discussion of set readings)
Guided Independent Study48Reading and research
Guided Independent Study20Preparation and writing of 2 reading summaries
Guided Independent Study38Preparation and writing of essay

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

Other Learning Resources

- Film ‘Hannah Arendt’ (2012) by Margarete von Trotta (organised viewing for the course by Dr Hauskeller).

- BBC4 The Frankfurt School (14 Jan 2010), by Melvyn Bragg and guests.

- BBC Mini-Series: The Century of the Self 2002, parts 1-4.