Sociology | Introduction to Social Organization
S510 | 21910 | Brooks

This course is an advanced introduction to the study of macro,
political, organizational, and comparative-historical sociology.
This broad scope means that we will have ample opportunity to survey
some key works and debates in the study of institutions,
stratification, politics, and social change.  One goal of this
seminar is to provide us with some overview of theory, research and
key controversies in these fields of contemporary sociology.  A
second is to identify some analytical themes and tools that are
increasingly common to work done by political, historical, economic,
and macro-sociologists.

Scholarly activity of this sort is the very stuff of graduate school,
but we should not rule out the possibility that it can be
intellectually fun as well!  Indeed, precisely because this is a
seminar, and a particularly wide-ranging one at that, we will have
ample opportunity to sink our teeth into a host of intriguing
disciplinary controversies, picking apart their analytical as well as
personal relevance.  Among our topics will be the place of
institutional, economic, and network models of organizations; the
powerful linkages between welfare states and class, gender, and
racial inequalities; tensions between convergence, embeddedness, and
regime-clustering in national development; the ubiquity and
complexity of political processes in democracies; and the challenge
of developing adequate micro-foundations for understanding macro-
level outcomes.

Our semesterís work will pave the way for a final paper that can take
two forms.  One is a critical survey of a sub-field such as the study
of social policy-making or mechanisms behind gender inequalities.
The second is a detailed proposal of research that develops a
theoretical argument, research design, and sociological rationale for
the question under investigation.  Both will tend to run
approximately 15-25 pages, and papers relating to initial work for
M.A. theses (or dissertations) are encouraged.