Research Seminar in Political Sociology

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Robin Archer, STC S105


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Sociology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

MPhil/PhD students whose research is in the field of political sociology. Students from all departments are welcome.

Course content

Political sociologists seek to understand fundamental political phenomenon by studying them in their social context. This seminar seeks to provide a small, friendly forum in which research students can discuss important recent publications and debates in this field. It often spends a number of weeks reading recent prize-winning books and articles in the field, and sometimes examines a topical theme for part of a term. There are also occasional guest lectures. In recent years, for example, there were lectures by Michael Mann (UCLA) on the rise and fall of neo-liberalism. Theda Skocpol (Harvard) on the future of American politics, and Andreas Wimmer (Princeton) on ethnic conflict and state formation. The seminar also provides an opportunity to develop individual research projects. In each seminar, a twenty or thirty minute presentation is followed by discussion.


8 hours of seminars in the MT. 10 hours of seminars in the LT. 6 hours of seminars in the ST.

Fortnightly in MT and LT.

Indicative reading

A short list of some important recent books and articles that could be discussed in the seminar will be suggested at the beginning of the year, and the seminar is always open to suggestions from participants. Readings continually change, but, for the purposes of illustration, recent seminars have discussed global anti-capitalism, suicide missions and the new imperialism, Christianity and American democracy, the welfare state, the politics of free markets, labour protest in China, street politics in Egypt, boycotts, and the crisis of capitalism.


There is no formal assessment but participants are asked to present papers, contribute to discussion and read the work of selected scholars in the course of the session.

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2015/16: 5

Average class size 2015/16: 6

Value: Non-assessed

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information