07:20 PM to 10:00 PM W
Innovation Hall 323
Section Information for Fall 2022
This course introduces graduate students to the sociological study of politics. Relations of power and authority, social institutions, networks, and culture are just some of the fundamental “gateway” concepts (variously theorized) that political sociologists rely on to make sense more innovative concepts for exploring dynamic contemporary politics. The overarching theme of the course is the struggle for democracy (and efforts to better understand it) in diverse, complex, and changing modern societies. While the concept of democracy is ubiquitous, its practice remains elusive. Does fetishizing the concept block rather than exercise the democratic imagination? What is democracy? And what is it good for? What are the structural preconditions necessary for democracy? How do people who organize and participate in democratic initiatives understand the purpose of their participation? How do they understand the appropriate methods and norms of participation? Where do they locate the boundaries between participation and something else, whether elite decision-making, managerial prerogatives, or the operation of the market? What happens when market principles are extended into the state and beyond it in civil society and, seemingly, everything “social”? Are we losing our appetite for democratic values as liberty is increasingly individualized and recast as a form of market conduct? What counts as equality and what counts as a breach of it? What happens when competing views of the “demos” clash, i.e., when they cannot be harmonized through processes that are mutually recognizable as democratic? We will see that while democracy today seems to be generally in retreat, social and political struggles for more of it remain -- new projects of democratic experimentation continue to emerge in communities around the world.
Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.