Skip to main content

Political Sociology

Political Science
Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About This Course

This course is aimed to give an understanding of the major analytical traditions, conceptual innovations, and themes researched in the field of political sociology. So the course is divided into 5 themes which one subdivided into 4 topics. Starting by the analytical traditions and paradigm shifts of the study of politics and by ending with the political elites, the course gives a general understanding about political sociology.

Course Content

1. The study of politics: analytical traditions and paradigm shifts

  a) Institutions as an object of study: the classic approach.

  b) Politics as a process: the behaviorist revolution and systemic theory

  c) New approaches: the theory of rational action and neo-institutionalism

  d) Political science, sociology of politics and political sociology.

2. Modernity, political modernization and democracy

  a) The nature and dynamics of modern political societies and systems.

  b) Stability, change and protest: consensus vs. conflict.

  c) Democracy and democratization: historical requirements and trajectories.

  d) Democratic models: Majority democracy vs. Consensual democracy

3. Elections and electoral behavior

  a) Citizenship, elections and structuring of the national political space.

  b) Electoral systems and their political effects.

  c) Explanatory theories of voting: from pioneers to the present.

  d) Electoral dynamics: from the era of alignment to the era of misalignment.

4. Principles and ways of organizing collective action

  a) Zweckrationalität or functional rationality: the bureaucratic phenomenon.

  b) Bureaucracy and political parties: the seminal studies of Ostrogorski and Michels.

  c) Genesis and development of political parties.

  d) Cleavage structure and party systems: the Lipset and Rokkan typology.

5. Political elites

  a) The classical and pluralist theories of elites: the basic premises.

  b) Elites and political development.

  c) Patterns of recruitment of political elites (parliamentary and ministerial).

  d) The transformation of political elites: main trends and variations.


Lipset S. , Political man: the social bases of politics cover, Doubleday, 1960

Lipset S. , Consensus and Conflict: Essays in Political Sociology ,Transaction Publishers, 1985

Eisenstadt S. , Multiples Modernities,Routledge, 2002