Political Sociology

Term: Spring 2012

Subject Code: GSOC

Course Number: 5113

This course is a general study of the field of political sociology. Taking a broadly theoretical approach, the course addresses perennial themes and debates in this diverse and contested subfield, with attention to the ways globalization has transformed its traditional objects of study. The course explores sociological perspectives on the political in a reflexive manner, assessing the status and scope of political sociology, historically and in relation to other disciplines. The first part of the course presents three broad analytic perspectives within the field: the Weberian tradition, the Marxist tradition, and the new political sociology represented by post-structuralism and post-Marxism. The second part of the course examines what are considered the core topics of contemporary political sociology: the state, political identity, and democracy. Placing the contestation and transformation of social structures at the center of the analysis, we examine power and resistance in multiple contexts, historical and spatial. As networks of power extend beyond the state, into subnational organizations, media, a range of transnational corporations and international political organizations, we explore what this means for social experience, identity, and democracy.

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