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Political Sociology (SO241)

What does a sociological understanding of politics offer that older disciplines of political science or political philosophy do not?

Without seeking to replace them, it starts from a recognition that, since the 19th century, politics in modern states has been not just about the business of rule, but also about social questions - health, housing, education, even lifestyle choices. The more the state can take an interest in our lives the more our lives are bound up with politics. This means that terms like 'democracy' or 'republic' or 'monarchy' refer not only to technical matters like parliaments or the separation of powers, but also to the lives people lead.

In this module we will try to capture some of that approach to politics. Topics examined will include: the scope of state action, the meaning of totalitarianism, the relationship between religion and politics in Europe and the Middle East, the link between types of regime and types of class structure, the social origins of revolution, and the place of politics in a human life.

"In Political Sociology, the focus was on modernity but specific topics like bureaucracy, how it works and how it has affected governance. For this, we looked at topics like how the holocaust was made possible, ethnic cleansing, totalitarianism and how they work hand in hand with certain characteristics of modernity. This shatters the world you have grown to accept and makes you think of events in different ways."

- Sam Arman, BA Sociology


Political Sociology

Module Director

Charles Turner


This module is worth 15 CATS.