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You are here: The Platypus Affiliated Society/Chicago Summer 2022 Reading Group: What is Society?

Chicago Summer 2022 Reading Group: What is Society?

Opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, 2008.
Opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, 2008.

Thursdays, 6:30 - 9:00PM
1350 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610-1908

Find the Facebook Events for each session:

• required / + recommended reading

“Society is a reality sui generis; it has its own characteristics that are either not found in the rest of the universe or are not found there in the same form."
"Society is a sui generis being with its own special nature, distinct from that of its members, and a personality of its own different from individual personalities."
-- Emile Durkheim

Required background reading:
• Chris Cutrone, "Back to Herbert Spencer! Industrial vs. militant society" (2016)

Recommended supplemental parallel reading:
+ Adorno, "Static and Dynamic as Sociological Categories" (1961)
+ Adorno, Introduction to Sociology 1962 lectures
+ Adorno, Philosophical Elements of a Theory of Society 1964 lectures
+ Adorno, Philosophy and Sociology 1960 lectures

Preliminary readings:
Adorno, “Society” (1965)
• Benjamin Constant, "The liberty of the ancients compared with that of the moderns" (1819)

Charts of terms:
+ Capital in history timeline and chart of terms
Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms
Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 
Commodity form chart of terms
Reification chart of terms

Week 1: June 9, 2022

• Gillian Rose, Hegel Contra Sociology (1981/95) selections: Preface for 1995 reprint, 1. The Antinomies of Sociological Reason, 7. With What Must the Science End?

Week 2: June 16, 2022

• Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) selections: Author's Introduction, Part I Chapters 1-3, Part II (+ Chapter 4,) Chapter 5

Week 3: June 23, 2022

• Auguste ComteIntroduction to Positive Philosophy (1830-42) I. The nature and importance of the positive philosophyThe Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte vol. III Bk. VI. Social Physics pp. 1-11, 199-216, 277-344; A General View of Positivism Ch. II. The Social Aspect of Positivism pp. 63-78, Ch. VI. The Religion of Humanity pp. 340-426

Week 4: June 30, 2022

+ Chris Cutrone, "Back to Herbert Spencer! Industrial vs. militant society" (2016) [audio]
• Herbert SpencerPrinciples of Sociology Vol. I Part I The Data of Sociology Ch. I-IV pp. 3-40 and Part II The Inductions of Sociology Ch. I-II pp. 447-462; On Social Evolution (Univ. Chicago selections): IV 15–16 Societal Typologies, Militancy and Industrialism and V 18–19 Ceremonial and Political InstitutionsThe Man Versus the State VI The Great Political Superstition

Week 5: July 7, 2022

• Emile Durkheim, Chapter 3. "The principles of 1789 and sociology" (1890); Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912) Introduction, selections V. Social Creativity Chapters 11-12, in On Morality and Society

Week 6: July 14, 2022

Durkheim, Chapter 10. "The dualism of human nature and its social conditions" (1914), Chapter 4. "Individualism and the intellectuals" (1898); The Division of Labor in Society (1893) Introduction (pp. 1-10), selection IV. The Evolution of Morality Chapter 6, in On Morality and Society

Week 7: July 21, 2022

Durkheim, The Division of Labor in Society (1893) selections IV. The Evolution of Morality Chapters 7-9, in On Morality and Society; Preface to the 2nd Edition (pp. xxxi-lix)

Week 8: July 28, 2022

Frankfurt School, Aspects of Sociology (1956) selections: Preface by Horkheimer and Adorno, Chapters I-VI, XII
Adorno, “Society” (1965)