SO203GC      Half Unit
Political Sociology (Spring Semester)

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Robin Archer, STC.S114a


This course is available with permission to General Course ‘Spring Semester’ 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. This LT course builds on the MT of the full unit course SO 203, but is available this year to General Course students who may not be able to arrive in MT. It begins by examining some of the founding writings of Marx and Weber and critically assesses the use of political concepts. We will then examine some classic comparative debates about the relationship between the development of states and societies. We will consider topics such as the study of political participation and explanations for the varying strength and political impact of social movements; the political sociology of developing societies and impact of imperialism; and some contemporary challenges and resurgent traditions. Throughout the course we will consider some of the main theoretical approaches that are used in the study of political sociology.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, online materials and classes totalling a minimum of 20 hours in LT.

Reading Weeks: Students on this course will have a reading week in LT Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

A class presentation and a termly paper in LT.

Indicative reading

R Dalton, Citizen Politics, 5th edn; A Giddens, Capitalism and Modern Social Theory;  R Inglehart, Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society; D. McAdam, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency; D. McLellan, Karl Marx: Selected Writings; J Manza & C Brooks, Social Cleavages and Political Change; F. Piven and R. Cloward, Poor People’s Movements; D. Rueschemeyer et al, Capitalist Development and Democracy; T Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions; S Tarrow, Power in Movement.


Essay (100%, 2500 words) in the ST.

An electronic copy of the assessed essay, to be uploaded to Moodle, no later than 4.00pm on the first Thursday of Summer Term. 

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

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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