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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Fall 2009

GOV 355M • Political Sociology

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39180 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
PAR 201
Higley, J

Course Description

Political sociology relates political outcomes to three main determinants: (1) the relatively fixed political orientations and short-term proclivities of mass publics; (2) the relatively autonomous and contingent choices and actions of political elites; (3) the ideologies and doctrines that affect how elites and mass publics view political possibilities. Part I examines mass orientations and takes stock of democratization's advances and setbacks in world regions today. Part II focuses on political elites, the types of regimes associated with them, and how elites and regimes have varied and been transformed during the modern historical period. Part III concentrates on how the political projects of Western, especially American, elites and mass publics have been molded by apocalyptic religious and secular utopian doctrines and what the "death of utopia" portends. With a primary, but also skeptical, focus on democracy, this course canvases historical and contemporary politics and societies worldwide.


Larry Diamond, The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World. Times Books, 2008 (paperback). John Higley and Michael Burton, Elite Foundations of Liberal Democracy. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2006 (paperback). John Gray, Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2007 (paperback September 2008).


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