Department of Sociology

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Graduate Program in Cultural Sociology, Masaryk University, 2021 Spring

Final State Exam and Thesis Defense

Dear students, 

Below you will find some instructions and the new rules regarding how the state exams and master thesis defenses are organized and will take place. The new rules reflect the actual pandemic situation and are meant to allow students to take the state exams and defend their thesis without being physically present in the faculty building. These rules are applied for all study programs - Czech and English.



Students and commissions’ members will meet in the Zoom program room, where both the defense and oral examination for the agreed subjects will take place. What does it mean for you?  You need to be technically prepared for the whole process (see below) and find a quiet and comfortable place you can use during the exam and defense.



The list of subjects, areas of examined topics and recommended literature has been made available in the IS since the beginning of the semester. We assume that you have been all studying accordingly.



At the appointed time, you will join the Zoom room, where you will be welcomed by the secretary of the state examination, which will be Tomáš Doseděl. The secretary will verify that everything is working well. He/she will verify your identity using an ISIC or an ID card you need to show to the camera. Then the secretary will connect you to the commission and start video and audio recording of the whole exam as the law requires us to do it. The record of the state exam will be stored in the IS for a period of five years. Further meeting procedures are elaborated by the chair of the commission.

When you defend your master thesis, you will be allowed to have 7-10 minutes to present the main findings without the use of a PowerPoint presentation. Subsequently, the supervisor and the opponent will read the most important issues from their review reports and you have the opportunity to answer or comment on them. The defense will continue with a free discussion with the commission.

You will answer the state exam questions orally following the defense. The whole oral examination should take the form of a collegial academic discussion rather than a monologue presented by you.

In total, the state exam takes about 30-45 minutes. After its completion, the secretary will disconnect you and the commission will discuss your performance. The results will be announced again via Zoom room immediately after each block of exams in case you are not the only one to take the exam. Otherwise, the results are to be announced as soon as the commission gets to a result.



The technical conditions for students’ access to the online state exams and defense are the following:

  1. PC, laptop or tablet - preferred technique. If the connection should take place via a smartphone, it is necessary to consult in advance with the Center for Information and Communication Technologies FSS MU; please write an email to no later than 5 days before the exam date. You can test your device at or
  2. Working webcam (state exams and defense will run with audio and video on)
  3. Operating system supporting Zoom (hardware and software requirements can be found here:
  4. Your telephone number, which can be used in case of technical problems during the whole exam and defense.
  5. Internet connection – stable.

    Please prepare your PC/laptop/tablet with a webcam and sufficiently stable internet. If you have not yet downloaded Zoom, you can download it. The secretary will, if you so choose, prepare a "trial state exam" for you, and you will be able to (optionally) verify that everything is working. We will send you an invitation to a Zoom meeting, through which you will be able to join the meeting, check the program environment and try out the technique, video quality and other technical issues.

For any problems during the state exams and defense, the secretary will also ask you for a telephone number in front of the commission, so that we can call you and find out what happened. In the event of an outage, we will of course offer you a new time within the same day.


Cultural Sociology


  • Jeffrey C. Alexander. 2003. The Meanings of Social Life. A Cultural Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Back L., Bennett A., Desfor Edles L., Gibson M., Inglis D., Jacobs R., Woodward I. 2012. Cultural Sociology: An Introduction. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Zerubavel, Eviatar. 1997. Social Mindscapes. An Invitation to Cognitive Sociology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

 Book chapters & articles

  • Alexander, J.A., Giesen, B., Mast, J. [eds.]. 2006. Social Performance: Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics, and Ritual. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (pp. 1-90)
  • Alexander, Jeffrey C. 2007. “Iconic consciousness: the material feeling of meaning.” In: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26(5), 782-794.
  • Bonnell, Victoria E. & Hunt, Lynn. 1999. “Introduction”. In: Bonnell, V. E. & Hunt, L. [Eds]. 1999. Beyond the Cultural Turn. New Directions in the Study of Society and Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. (pp. 1-32)
  • Durkheim, Émile. 1965 (1921). The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. New York: Free Press. (Book I, Chapter 1; Book II, Chapter 7)
  • Keane, Webb. 2005. “Signs are not the garb of meaning: on the social analysis of material things”. In: Miller, D. (ed.) Materiality. Duke Univ Press (pp. 182 – 205).
  • Reed, I. and Alexander, J.C. 2006. “Culture.” In. Bryan Turner (ed.) 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. (pp. 111 – 117)
  • Santoro, Marco. 2011. “From Bourdieu to Cultural Sociology.” In: Cultural Sociology. Vol. 5, No. 11, pp. 3 – 23.


Social Theory


  • Berger, Peter & Luckmann, Thomas. 1966. The Social Construction of Reality. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.
  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1998. Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  • Wagner, Peter. 1994. A Sociology of Modernity: Liberty and Discipline. Routledge: London.
  • Weber, Max. 2002 (1905). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.

 Book chapters & articles

  • Alexander, Jeffrey C.: “Core Solidarity, Ethnic Outgroup, and Social Differentiation.” In: Alexander, Jeffrey C. 1988. Action and its Environments. Toward a New Synthesis. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Boltanski, Luc & Chiapello, Eve. 2002. “The New Spirit of Capitalism.” Conference paper presented at the Conference of Europeanists. Chicago.
  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (pp. 97-168, 466-484)
  • Foucault, Michel. 1980. The History of Sexuality, vol. 1. New York: Vintage. (Parts I, II and III).
  • Mannheim, Karl. 1964. “The Problem of Generations.” In: Essays on the Sociology of Knowledge. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. (pp. 276-320)
  • Marx, Karl. “The Fetishism of Commodities.” In: Marx, Karl. 2000. Selected writings [edited by David McLellan]. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Marx, Karl. “On the Jewish Question.” In: Marx, Karl. 2000. Selected writings [edited by David McLellan]. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Weber, M. 1949. “Objectivity. Social Science and Social Policy.” The Methodology of the Social Sciences. New York: Free Press. (pp. 49-112).


Research Methodology


  • Edles, Laura Desfor. 2002. Cultural Sociology in Practice. Malden: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Flick, Uwe. 2014 edition: The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis. London; Thousand Oaks: Sage. (especially chapters 1, 9, 11, 15, 16, 23)
  • Reed, Isaac. 2011. Interpretation and Social Knowledge: On the Use of Theory in the Human Sciences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Somekh, Bridget and Cathy Lewin. 2011. Theory and Methods in Social Research. London: Sage Publications.

Book chapters & articles

  • Alexander, J.C. 2010. “Note on the Concept and Method.” In: Alexander, J.C., The Performance of Politics. Oxford University Press, pp. 275 – 297.
  • Geertz, Clifford. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York, NY: Basic Books. (Chapters 1, 2, 15, pp. 3-54, 412-453)
  • Mannheim, Karl. 1968. “On the Interpretation of Weltanschauung.” In: Essays on the Sociology of Knowledge. London: Routledge, 33-83.
  • Reed, Isaac and Jeffrey C. Alexander, eds. 2008. Meaning and Method: The Cultural Approach to Sociology. Boulder, CO and London: Paradigm. (Introduction)
  • Timmermans, Stefan & Iddo Tavory. 2012. “Theory Construction in Qualitative Research From Grounded Theory to Abductive Analysis.” In: Sociological Theory 30(3), 167-186.

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