Sociology | Advanced Topics
S660 | 12791 | Bartley

TOPIC: Conflict, Change, and Institutions

Most sociological theory and research revolves around a tension
between the durability of existing social arrangements and the
possibilities for social change.  The goal of this class is to
generate some insight into this general issue by thinking about the
relationships between processes of conflict and cooperation (within
and among different types of organizations), social movements, and
durable institutional arrangements.

We will begin by considering some fundamental questions about social
change and social movements:  Most generally, why is social change
so difficult?  Why do social structures so often persist, even in
the face of discontent and mobilization?  Why are social movements
and other attempts to bring about change often frustrated?  Under
what conditions are social movements most likely to succeed?  These
questions will lead to an engagement with theories of social
institutions and research on the emergence, solidification,
reproduction, and change of institutional arrangements.  Here we
will consider a variety of issues, including different conceptions
of institutions, the formation and evolution of organizational and
cultural fields, institutional effects on material and cultural
outcomes (especially related to stratification/inequality), the ways
in which history matters in social scientific explanation, the
relationships between collective action and institutions, and the
processes by which social practices get created, institutionalized,
and de-institutionalized.

The first half of the course will develop the theoretical and
conceptual tools for analyzing stability and change from an
institutionalist perspective.  The second half of the course is
organized around topics, which will allow us to apply and refine
these tools while learning about a number of key institutional

The course should be useful to students with a wide variety of
substantive interests, especially those interested in political
sociology, culture, stratification, social movements, economic
sociology, organizations, education, or globalization.  Please see for more information.