Sociology | Politics & Society
S311 | 3621 | Redding


S311 Politics & Society  Redding   2:30-3:45 MW   3621

This course examines the relationship between politics and
society.  While the focus of our attention will be on
contemporary western democracies and the United States in
particular, we will consider the ebb and flow of democratic
currents in history throughout the world.

Sociologists have a lot to say about politics for at least three
reasons.  First, political behavior (who you vote for, what
social movements you act with, etc.) varies by social class,
occupation, gender, educational level, race, religion, and other
characteristics that sociologists have traditionally studied.
Second, political decisions are products of social processes,
such as those involving political discussion within or outside of
formal organizations.  Finally, political institutions and
processes are greatly affected by the general organizations.
Finally, political institutions and processes are greatly
affected by the general organization of society; the type of
democracy we have today, for example, barely existed prior to the
industrial revolution, but is now increasingly the norm.

Sociologists study politics in a rather broad sense of the word.
Of course, we will discuss parties and elections, but we will
also spend a good deal of time examining social movements,
interest groups, the media and bureaucrats.  All of these factors
shape political outcomes such as the election of a president or
congressperson or the adoption of a law banning gay/lesbian
marriage or clearcut logging in the Hoosier National Forest.  We
will spend much of our time trying to figure out how parties,
movements, interests, ideologies, and the media interact to
create such political results.

My teaching style involves an interactive combination of lecture
and discussion, with bits of group presentation, multimedia, and
guest lectures thrown into that mix.  Course requirements will
likely include two exams and one paper.