State, Citizenship and Culture: An Introduction to Historical Sociology

Term: Spring 2009

Subject Code: GPOL

Course Number: 6343

 This course will focus on several crucial issues in historical sociology

such as state-building processes, the formation of civil societies,

variations in democratic values, and the ways of collective actions. In

Europe, the state building processes took place within different kind of

cultures, religions and collective identities. Few states were able to

become effective nation-states, transforming their culture, cutting the idea

of citizenship loose from any kind of identity within the public realm.

Those states who succeeded, more or less, like the French state, are still

unable nowadays to solve specific issues based on identity politics. Others,

as diverse as England, Germany, Spain or the United States, never built such

a strong state. We will explore the relationships between historical

variations in state-building processes and resulting contemporary political

issues in citizenship in the context of increasingly multi-cultural


(Pierre Birnbaum, Professor Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne)

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