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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Fall 2009

SOC 320K • Political Sociology

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46480 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
PAR 201

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.

Grading Policy

Three in-class hour examinations, and each worth 33.3% of the final grade. There will be no final examination. All three of the hour examinations will be essay, short-answer, and multiple-choice in content. Class attendance will be crucial to examination performance and students who anticipate missing more than two classes are advised not to enroll. The instructor reserves the right to curve hour examination and final grades in order to secure a reasonable grade profile for the course.


Texts* in the order they will be assigned:

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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