Sociology 456, Spring 2003
Political Sociology


Course description

This course will focus on the social bases of political conflict and collective action from the mid 19th century to the present day in democratic, industrial societies. The social base of a political movement has important implications for the boundaries of its constituency, as well as the nature of its demands. The course will demonstrate that there has been an important shift in the social base of politics during this time period – roughly, from class to culture. The course will attempt to understand the nature of this shift and to document it in nine countries: the USA, the UK, France, Sweden, Norway, Japan, Denmark, Poland, and Russia.

Required Readings

Students are expected to read all three required texts for this course:

Paul Kingston, The Classless Society (2000)
Eveylene Huber and John D. Stevens, Development and Crisis of the Welfare State(2001)
Michael Hechter, Containing Nationalism (2000)


This course is organized as a research workshop. Students will be divided into 9 groups of three students, each focusing on trends in class and cultural politics in one of the nine target countries. Each of these groups will present their findings in a power point presentation, beginning in Week VI of the quarter. In addition, students will be required to write an individual paper describing the findings of their research.

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Last modified: 4/4/2003 2:59 pm