CONTENT AND STRUCTURE

What is Political Sociology?

The task of political sociology is to explore and explain the relationship between politics and society, between social and political institutions, and between social and political behaviour.

Contemporary political sociology also “concerns cultural politics, which is the interpretation of social meanings that support, challenge, or change the definitions, perspectives and identities of social actors, to the advantage of some and the disadvantage of others, across state and society” (Nash 2010).

This course aims to explore some of the great debates about the relationship between politics and society. In particular, it explores the challenges faced by nation-state as a result of social movements, new conceptions of democracy and globalization.

 

Contents

  • Power
    • Key concepts in political sociology
    • Power and Legitimacy
    • The distribution of power
  • The State and Society
    • What is the modern Nation-State
    • Differentiating Government from the State
    • The Welfare State
  • Politics, Culture and the Public Sphere
    • Political Values
    • Ideology and Hegemony
    • Public Opinion
    • Media and Democracy: the Political Communication
  • Political Participation
    • Institutional and Non-Institutional forms of political participation
    • Political Parties
    • Elections and voting
    • Critic citizens
    • Social Movements
  • Citizenship
    • Social cleavages
    • Gender, Ethnicity and the post-national citizenship
    • Civic engagement and political behaviour
    • Active citizenship and quality of democracy
  • Democracy
    • Democracy in Crisis
    • Globalization and Democracy
    • Democratic Innovations

TEACHING AND ASSESSMENT

Educational Goals

The course has two main goals:

  1. to provide a good knowledge of the main aspects and problems of political sociology;
  2. to provide a basic understanding of the theoretical tools, methodologies and techniques for the analysis of the relationships between politics and society.

These goals will be achieved through lectures, class activities, debating and case studies analysis.

 

Teaching Method

Lectures, focused debating, papers presentation in class, exercises, case studies analysis.

Assessment method: test paper and papers discussed in class.

Specific lectures will be held by Dr. Noemi Trino

 

Visiting Professor

Prof. Matthew Hibberd (University of Stirling, Scotland, UK)  will give some lectures in October.

 

Exams

  1. Paper’s presentation in class (mandatory – 30%)
  2. Essay (max: 3,500 words – 40%)
  3. Final exam (Q&A: 30% – topics: books, lectures, paper presentation, essay)

 

1. Presentation in class

This assignment asks you to make an oral presentation, using ppt or similar, lasting about 20 minutes in which you report on the topic/s you received.

The presentation will assessed in terms of (a) content, (b) organization, (c) supporting materials, and (d) delivery.

 

2. Topics for essay

The essay’s lenght must be between 3,000 and 3,500 words.

It must be composed in  Word format (.doc, .docx) and uploaded to the virtual class repository by 20 November 2016.

The suggested structure is the following:

  • Introduction
  • theoretical framework
  • methodology (if the paper is based upon a field research)
  • findings and discussion
  • conclusions
  • bibliography.

The citation system must be “Harvard Citation System” (as described in “Final dissertation” page)

3. Final exam

An open-ended questionnaire.

 

Exams: not attending students

The final exam previews:

  1. Essay
  2. Final exam (Q&A)
  3. The presentation in class will be replaced by a third book among those suggested as references.

Reference Books

  1. Drake, M. S. (2010) Political Sociology for a Globalizing World. Cambridge: Polity
  2. della Porta, D. (2013) Can Democracy Be Saved? Cambridge: Polity.
  3. Not attending students must replace the presentation in class with a third book, chosen from the followings: please communicate your choice to the teacher.
  • Dalton, R. J., Farrell, D. M. and McAllister, I. (2011) Political Parties & Democratic Linkage. How Parties Organizes Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • de Leon, C. (2014) Party & Society. Reconstructing a Sociology of Democratic Party Politics. Cambridge: Polity.
  • della Porta, D. e Diani, M. (2006) Social Movements. An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • della Porta, D. and Mattoni, A. (eds.) (2014) Spreading Protest. Social movements in times of crisis. Colchester: ECPR Press.
  • Geissel, B. and Joas, M. (2013) Participatory Democratic Innovations in Europe. Berlin-Toronto: Barbara Budrich Publishers.
  • Morlino, L. (2011) Changes for Democracy. Actors, Structures, ProcessesOxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Saward, M. (2000) Democratic Innovation. Deliberation, representation and association. London: Routledge – ECPR.
  • Tormey, S. (2015) The end of representative politics. Cambrige: Polity.

The final exam will be based upon the three books (60%). The essay (40%) should be sent to the teacher at least ten days before the exam’s date.

  • The essay’s lenght must be between 3,000 and 3,500 words.
  • It must be composed in  Word format (.doc, .docx) and sent to the teacher at least 10 days before the exam’s date.

The suggested structure is the following:

  • Introduction
  • theoretical framework
  • methodology (if the paper is based upon a field research)
  • findings and discussion
  • conclusions
  • bibliography.

The citation system must be “Harvard Citation System” (as described in “Final dissertation” page)