Course code:



I - Introductory

Class size limit:


Typically offered:

Every other year

This course approaches “platforms”—physical, virtual, and conceptual objects—as ways of thinking of Social Theory. The central idea of the course is that we adopt different platforms—or paradigms—to define, understand, and manipulate both physical and social realities. We will begin by analyzing the object “platform” through a combination of case studies and theoretical approaches: ships, oil-extraction platforms, space ships, floating objects, islands, as well as virtual platforms (in software and the Internet). These objects, which are simultaneously disentangled from reality (or solid ground) and relentlessly entwined with our everyday life, challenge the existing physical and social laws and push them to their limits. We will draw on the history of classical social theories from a variety of traditions (Marx; Durkheim; Weber; Parsons and Merton; Habermas; Darenhdorf; Goffman; Du Bois; Foucault; Bordieau; as well as Feminist theories and Globalization theories) as platforms of thought, ways of understanding, describing, and interacting within the world we live in. The aim of the course is to show that the problem of Truth needs to be left out when dealing with social theories; rather, these must be understood and used much more as platforms from which people can reach out and push their limits, but also as common ground in understanding reality as it presents itself to us. Floating from theory to theory, then, is not a “phase” in one’s life, but rather an interpretative tool in a complex social world. Students will be evaluated on class participation (including attendance) and assignments, which may include a take-home final, an oral discussion of the material, and a class presentation.



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.