Making the Social World

Module Leader:
László Kőszeghy
2020-2021 Spring
Social Sciences

The famous Euthyphro dilemma – “Is the action pious because it is loved by the gods or do the gods love the action because it is pious?” – seems to point at the idea that the property of being pious might not be conceived independently of the attitudes of the gods. Perhaps the dilemma is also applicable to humans and the social world around us.
The purpose of this module is to introduce students to some of the main research questions and methodological challenges of the social sciences through focusing on theories that describe ways of constructing the social reality around us. When discussing issues around social kinds such as money, gender or disability, we often say that these are social constructs – often without being precise as to what exactly we mean. Are we merely constructing the concepts of these categories or the things themselves as well? How to describe the interaction between these two?
Furthermore, how far can we go with social constructionist claims? During this module, we will venture to see in what sense is good taste, emotions or the self a social construct. Throughout the course, we will be challenged to reflect upon the difficulties in delineating socially constructed and thus contingent parts of the social realm from those which are natural or inevitable.
This module is recommended for any Lower House student interested in anthropology, sociology, social theory, philosophy, or economics.