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

Fall 2008

SOC 320K • Political Sociology

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46515 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
BUR 208

Course Description

Political sociology seeks to explain how various determinants of mass political behavior, such as social class, gender, ethnic/racial, and religious identities, intersect with the choices and actions of relatively autonomous political elites to produce, but also sometimes preclude, major political continuities and changes. Part I of the course will examine trajectories of political change in Western countries during the modern historical period and in non-Western countries today. Part II will compare and contrast elite structures, changing ideological outlooks of elites, as well as mass cleavages in Western countries plus Japan and the "Asian Tigers" during these early years of the twenty-first century. The course will have substantial emphases on modern political history and contemporary political developments worldwide.

Grading Policy

Two in-class hour examinations, multiple-choice and short-answer in format, 25% each
Two 5-page papers 25% each
There will be no final examination

The first paper will analyzethe recent and current elite and regime configuration of a non-Western country that will be chosen by lot, and the second will analyze the dilemmas and pressures confronting elites and mass publics in a Western country also be chosen by lot. The instructor will reserve the right to curve final grades in order to secure a reasonable overall grade profile for the course. Both the hour examinations and the student papers will focus on lecture materials and assigned readings, so attending lectures will be crucial to success in the course.



Larry Diamond, The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World, Times Books, 2008
John Higley and Michael Burton, Elite Foundations of Liberal Democracy, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2006 (paperback)
Ronald Tiersky, ed., Europe Today: National Politics, European Integration, and European Security Rowman & Littlefield, 2004 (paperback, 2nd edition)


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