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Power State and Social Movements

Module Details for SOU22041 Power State and Social Movements (Part 1 MT)

Module Code


Module Name

Power State and Social Movements

ECTS weighting


Semester/term taught

Michaelmas Term

Learning Objectives

On successful completion of part I of this module, you will be able to:

  • Discuss sociological explanations of political processes
  • Relate this theoretical understanding to empirical data and analyses for more than two advanced democracies.
  • Compare and contrast competing approaches in the field

Module Content

Political sociology is concerned with the social bases of politics and the relationship between states and societies. Through examining the nature of power, states, the policy process and social movements, this course provides sociological insights into the world of politics, policy and social change. 

The first part of the course introduces students to the major ideas and debates within the field of political sociology and provides them with some of the tools needed to analyse power, politics and the state. In particular, it examines interactions between economic interests, political institutions, and ideological norms. The module has equally strong theoretical and empirical components and aims to expand students’ knowledge of society and politics in a number of countries. Topics include power, the nature of the state and democracy, political culture and participation, the organization and representation of interests and gender in politics.

Recommended Reading List

There is no textbook for this course. The following three books are useful general readings:

  • Janoski, Thomas, Robert R. Alford, Alexander M. Hicks, Mildred A. Schwartz, eds. 2005. The Handbook of Political Sociology: States, Civil Societies, and Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lukes, Steven. 2004. Power: A Radical View, 2nd ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Migdal, Joel. 2001. State in Society: Studying How States and Societies Transform and Constitute One Another. Cambridge University Press.

Assessment Details

An essay. You will choose an essay question from a choice of questions. The essay enables you to explore a single topic in some depth, to develop your own ideas and to locate relevant contemporary material.