Current Issues: Social and Political Sciences

Module Leader:
Ádám Kornél Havas
2020-2021 Spring
Immersion 1
Social Sciences

This module aims to identify, reconstruct and criticise contemporary debates surrounding arguably the most important social issues of today’s globalised world related to neoliberal capitalism, cultural globalisation, surveillance, identity politics, climate change, and the unequal geopolitical distribution of ‘goodness’. Other topics of not less importance such as Otherness, gender inequalities, migration or artificial intelligence (not to mention the social effects of Covid-pandemic) will be discussed in relation to the aforementioned overarching themes all related to the controversies of the global capitalist world order. Therefore, it should be noted that instead of an intention to include all of the ‘greatest hits’ of the 21th century to the module’s scope, the course’s intention will be to develop the student’s awareness of the well-argued positions concerning the often antagonistic claims that characterise the most significant issues of our times. For that reason, students are invited to use the assigned sources to comment on the news and identify the broader underlying thoughts implied by the news’ content. The following prompts foreshadow some of the questions we will discuss throughout the course:

Do social classes still exist? What other lines of division matters in the context of global inequalities?
To what extent technological innovations such as face recognition softwares can be regarded as innocent innovations? What can be the danger of these in social terms?
Is there a market competition for individual identities?
How would you describe the relationship between climate change and economic growth? Can technological innovations provide the solution for global crises such as climate change and the pandemic? Is it the responsibility of individuals, (nation)states, companies or transnational organisations (WHO, UN) to deal with impact and prevention of global crisis? To what extent?
Do we need charismatic leaders? Is hypocrisy a necessary element of late modern political systems?
Are Hungarians ‘Europeans’?