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The following short videos are drawn from my online course Foundations of Social Theory. The aim is to show how social theory from Marx through Gramsci, Benjamin, Fanon, and Foucault, to name a few included, can help us to analyze our contemporary condition and enrich our struggles for social change. There are 19 videos in total, each between 5 – 10 minutes in length. They can be used together or individually. You can find links or references to the readings below each video. These are the two books that are companions to the course:

Robert Tucker (ed) 1978. The Marx-Engels Reader. Second Edition. Norton.
Roberta Garner (ed) 2010. Social Theory: Power and Identity in the Global Era. University of Toronto Press.

Class 1, Marx’s theory of value
Robert Goldman and Stephen Papson, Nike Culture: The Sign of the Swoosh, Sage Press, 1999, Chapter 1, pp 1 – 23.

Class 2, Marx’s theory of alienation
“A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Introduction,” pp 53 – 56, “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts,” pp 70 – 101, Marx-Engels Reader (MER)

Class 3, The Communist Manifesto
“Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy,” pp 3 – 6, “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” pp 473 – 491, MER

Class 4, Marx’s anatomy of a revolution
“The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,” pp 594 – 617, MER.

Class 5, Weber’s spirit of capitalism
Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Chapters 1 and 2, pp 35 – 78.

Class 6, Gramsci and Althusser on state power
Antonio Gramsci, “The Prison Notebooks” and introduction, pp 27 – 41, Social Theory (ST)
Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” and introduction, pp 105 – 118, ST

Class 7, Cultural hegemony and Reality TV
Todd Gitlin, “Prime Time Ideology: The Hegemonic Process in Television Entertainment,” pp 44 – 64, ST
Chad Raphael, “The Political Economic Origins of Reali-TV,” in Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture, NYU Press, 2008. pp 123 – 140.
Ted Magder, “Television 2.0: The Business of American Television in Transition,” in Reality TV, pp 141 – 163.

Class 8, Benjamin and Adorno on the culture industry
Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” pp 10 – 26, ST
Theodor Adorno, “Culture Industry Reconsidered.”

Class 9, Media and consumption
Marshall McLuhan, “Understanding Media,” 167 – 174, ST
Laurie Ouelette, “Take Responsibility for Yourself: Judge Judy and the Neoliberal Citizen,” in Reality TV, pp 223 – 242.
Henry Jenkins, “Buying into American Idol: How We Are Being Sold on Reality Television,” in Reality TV, pp 343 – 362.

Class 10, Bourdieu and cultural capital
Pierre Bourdieu, “Sociology in Question,” pp 134 – 141, ST
Paul Willis, “Common Culture,” pp 210 – 229, ST

Class 11, Fanon and decolonization
Frantz Fanon (1963) The Wretched of the Earth, New York: Grove Press. “Concerning Violence” pp 35 – 106.

Class 12, Feminist social theory
Dorothy Smith, “The Conceptual Practices of Power,” pp 236 – 243, ST
Nancy M Hartsock, “The Feminist Standpoint: Developing the Ground for a Specifically Feminist Historical Materialism,” in The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory, Routledge, 1997, pp 216 – 240.
Patricia Hill Collins, “Defining Black Feminist Thought,” in The Second Wave pp 241 – 259.

Class 13, Materialist-feminism and the wedding-ideological complex
Chrys Ingraham, White Weddings: Romancing Heterosexuality in Popular Culture, Routledge, 2008, Chapters 1, 3, pp 2 – 23, 78 – 104.

Class 14, Postmodern social theory
Frederic Jameson, “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,” pp 297 – 315, ST
David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Conditions of Cultural Change, Wiley-Blackwell, 1991, Chapt 3, pp 39 – 65.

Class 15, Cultural identity and difference
Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora,” pp 318 – 330, ST
Cornel West, “The New Cultural Politics of Difference,” October, Vol 53, Summer 1990.

Class 16, Flexible work and post-industrialism
Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, Chapt 9, pp 141 – 172.
Biju Mathew, Taxi! Cabs and Capitalism in New York City, Cornell University Press, New Press, 2005. Prologue, Chapters 2, 3, pp 1 – 10, 39 – 82.

Class 17, Foucault and disciplinary power
Michel Foucault, “The Body of the Condemned,” “The Panopticon,” pp 194 – 207, ST

Class 18, Theories of globalization
Arjun Appadurai, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,” pp 332 – 346, ST
Biju Mathew, Taxi! Chapter 6, pp 143 – 176.

Class 19, Globalization and Immigrant Labor
William Robinson and Xuan Santos, “Global Capitalism, Immigrant Labor, and the Struggle for Justice,” Class, Race, and Corporate Power, Vol 2, Issue 3, 2014.

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