What you’ll learn
- Political Science
- Social understanding
This course includes:
- 2.5 hours on-demand video
- 13 downloadable resources
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of completion
The main focus of the discipline has been on the political processes which take place within human societies. Political sociology deals with the relationship between state and society on the basis of mutual interaction and with power as the ultimate aim.
The course is provided both in the form of part-time as well as on correspondence basis. Political sociology is concerned with the sociological analysis of political phenomena ranging from the State and civil society to the family, investigating topics such as citizenship, social movements, and the sources of social power. Traditionally, there were four main areas of research.
1. The sociopolitical formation of the modern state
2. How social inequality between groups (class, race, gender) influences politics
3. How public opinion, ideologies, personalities, social movements, and trends outside of the formal institutions of political power affect formal politics
4. Power relationships within and between social groups (e.g. families, workplaces, bureaucracy, media)
Political sociology is concerned with the sociological analysis of political phenomena ranging from the State and civil society to the family, investigating topics such as citizenship, social movements, and the sources of social power. The lineage of this discipline is typically traced from such thinkers as Montesquieu, Smith and Ferguson through the founding fathers of sociology – Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber – to such contemporary theorists as Anthony Giddens, Jurgen Habermas and Michael Mann.
In other words, political sociology was traditionally concerned with how social trends, dynamics, and structures of domination affect formal political processes, as well as exploring how various social forces work together to change political policies. From this perspective, we can identify three major theoretical frameworks: pluralism, elite or managerial theory, and class analysis, which overlaps with Marxist analysis. Pluralism sees politics primarily as a contest among competing interest groups. Elite or managerial theory is sometimes called a state-centered approach. It explains what the state does by looking at constraints from organizational structure, semi-autonomous state managers, and interests that arise from the state as a unique, power-concentrating organization. A leading representative is Theda Skocpol. Social class theory analysis emphasizes the political power of capitalist elites. It can be split into two parts: one is the “power structure” or “instrumentalist” approach, whereas another is the structuralist approach. The power structure approach focuses on the question of who rules and its most well-known representative is G. William Domhoff.
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