Political Sociology

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Michael McQuarrie, STC.S379


This course is available on the BSc in Accounting and Finance, BSc in Social Policy and Sociology, BSc in Sociology and Diploma in Sociology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

Political Sociology concerns the way in which political and social factors interact to produce the societies in which we live. This course aims to discuss some central empirical and theoretical questions in the field. The course begins by examining classic debates about the relationship between the development of the state and democracy on the one hand, and the rise of capitalism and liberalism on the other. We will then examine the impact that social cleavages like class, religion, race and gender have on parties, elections and other political institutions in a number of different countries. We will also examine the strength and political impact of both labour movements and other important social movements. And we will examine why similar countries can develop very different social and economic policies. In addition we will examine some large scale historical changes like revolutions, democratisation, the impact of colonialism, and globalisation. Throughout the course we will also consider some of the main theoretical approaches that are used in the study of political sociology.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 4 hours of lectures and 4 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

At least one class presentation and a termly paper in both MT and LT.

Indicative reading

R Dalton, Citizen Politics, 3rd edn; G Esping-Andersen, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism; A Giddens, Capitalism and Modern Social Theory; John Goldthorpe, Order and Conflict in Contemporary Capitalism; R Inglehart, Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society; J Manza & C Brooks, Social Cleavages and Political Change; B Moore, The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy; T Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions; S Steinmo, et al, Structuring Politics; S Tarrow, Power in Movement.


Exam (70%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (30%, 2500 words) in the ST.

Exam will be held during the Summer Term exam session.

Two hard copies of the assessed essay, with submission sheets attached to each, to be handed in to the Administration Office, S219A, no later than 16:30 on the first Thursday of Summer Term. An additional copy to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 18:00 on the same day.

Attendance at all classes and submission of all set coursework is required.

Student performance results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

Classification % of students
First 10.6
2:1 70.2
2:2 17
Third 2.1
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2012/13: 9

Average class size 2012/13: 6

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 75.4%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)