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Social Theory Final Reflection Paper

Paper details Social Theory
Final Reflection Paper
First, watch James Cameron’s 2009 film, Avatar.
Today’s film, Avatar, puts forth a theory of the nature of traditional and modern societies, and the relationship between the two. Choose four of the following questions and address each one in a smart, clear, well-organized 6-7 page paper.

1. How is the film’s portrayal of traditional and modern societies similar to that of Emile Durkheim?
2. How is it reminiscent of the analysis of capitalism (its logic as well as the relationship between the economy and the other levels of society, like science and the military) in the work of Karl Marx?
3. Where do you see Weberian ideas about rationality and irrationality portrayed in the film?
4. How does the film’s portrayal of modern society reflect Freud’s ideas about the primitive, the oceanic, connection and disconnection, repression, libido, and aggression?
5. Marcuse re-reads Freud to find a psychoanalytic rationale for the possibility of instinctual liberation in civilized social life. How does the film say something similar about the power of Eros over aggressiveness?

So to prepare for the paper, here is some material on Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization. Read the first twenty five pages or so.

Simmel response questions

Paper details The Aura of Modernism (video essay) (Links to an external site.)
The Aura of Modernism (video essay)

and then read “The Metropolis and Mental Life” download by Georg Simmel.

Simmel’s piece is a reflection on modern life and the modern city in which it takes place (and that exemplifies its characteristics). The essay sees the city (and by extension modern life as a whole) in a manner similar in some ways to the way that Durkheim, Marx, and Weber see modern life as well.

1. Identify an idea in the essay that reminds you of Durkheim’s theory of modern life.

2. Identify an idea in the essay that reminds you of Marx’s theory of modern life.

3. Identify an idea in the essay that reminds you of Weber’s theory of modern life.

Social Theory Final Reflection Paper

Paper details Social Theory
Final Reflection Paper
First, watch James Cameron’s 2009 film, Avatar.
Today’s film, Avatar, puts forth a theory of the nature of traditional and modern societies, and the relationship between the two. Choose four of the following questions and address each one in a smart, clear, well-organized 6-7 page paper.

1. How is the film’s portrayal of traditional and modern societies similar to that of Emile Durkheim?
2. How is it reminiscent of the analysis of capitalism (its logic as well as the relationship between the economy and the other levels of society, like science and the military) in the work of Karl Marx?
3. Where do you see Weberian ideas about rationality and irrationality portrayed in the film?
4. How does the film’s portrayal of modern society reflect Freud’s ideas about the primitive, the oceanic, connection and disconnection, repression, libido, and aggression?
5. Marcuse re-reads Freud to find a psychoanalytic rationale for the possibility of instinctual liberation in civilized social life. How does the film say something similar about the power of Eros over aggressiveness?

So to prepare for the paper, here is some material on Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization. Read the first twenty five pages or so.

Simmel/Urban Life discussion

Paper details Simmel/Urban Life discussion
Summarize Simmel’s basic idea of what modern, urban life is like for the individuals who live in cities. What kinds of individuals do big cities produce?
Do you agree with Simmel’s characterization of urban life? Is what he describes the city life that you experience?

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