Hi, here’s my three sociology essays for this year which finished off my honours. I did two courses – the mini-thesis research paper and a general course on social theory, so I had a lot of scope for deciding what to look into for my essays.
For my thesis, “Opium or Liberation? (Notes towards an Investigation)”, I looked into when Christianity supports the powers that be and when it’s liberating; what was it originally, what is it now, and what makes the difference? I couldn’t come up with any kind of conclusive answer in 10,000 words, so this thesis consists of background theoretical/historical discussion and ‘provisional research’; ie, if I was going to research this topic, here’s how I would go about it. Hence the subtitle “Notes towards an Investigation” which I stole from an essay by Louis Althusser. The ‘investigation’ will probably never take place, so hopefully as well as notes towards an investigation it can also serve as interesting guidelines for how we assess the political functioning of various expressions of Christianity today.
For my two essays for the social theory paper, it was recommended to do one on a theoretical question, and one on a particular theorist. I wrote the theorist one first, writing about atheist philosopher Slavoj Žižek’s interesting use of Christianity in his recent thought. He’s basically become an atheist Christian, and more than that, he thinks the only real atheism is Christian atheism (the title of this essay, “Dwarfs, Ghosts and Monsters Against the Big Other” probably makes more sense after you’ve read the essay). I used my other essay, “Religion, Idealism, Ideology, Revolution”, largely as an opportunity to research relevant theorists for my thesis – I looked at Mikhail Bakunin, Marx, Engels, Althusser, Žižek and Jacques Ellul as examples of three basic ways of viewing the socio-political significance of Christianity.
Anyway, here they are if you want to read them. There are a few different formats to choose from, hopefully they all work and it hasn’t screwed up the formatting when I converted them.