Political Sociology I  Week 1: Power & Politics from a      Sociological Perspective           Dr Alana Lentin
IntroductionsWho am I?Who are you?
What are we dealing with?
What are we dealing with?   The State          Citizenship                Race                               SexualityGove...
Howard Zinn’sA People’s History
‘Political sociology looks to “the socialcircumstances of politics, that is, to howpolitics both is shaped by and shapesot...
‘Political sociology looks to “the socialcircumstances of politics, that is, to howpolitics both is shaped by and shapesot...
Shaping and beingshaped by politicsThink of an examplewhere a governmentdecision or a worldpolitical event hadan impact on...
“The chance of a man or a number of men torealise their own will in a communal action evenagainst the resistance of others...
Power & Resistance
Overview2   3       4        56       8       9   10
Teaching & LearningLecture - main theoretical overviewReaction and critiqueCase study (introduced using film,webdocs, blog...
Week 2: Theories of PowerTheoryThe relationship betweenthe state, capital andcitizensMarxist, neo-Marxist versusWeberian a...
Week 3: The Shrinking WorldTheoryGlobalization,interdependence, decolonialand border thinkingContrasting westernapproaches...
Week 4: Neoliberalism,     Politics & SocietyTheoryThe relationship betweenthe state and capitalunder neoliberalismIdeolog...
Week 5: The Disciplinary &      Punitive StateTheoryFoucauldian approaches todiscipline, surveillanceand punishmentThe pan...
Week 6: A Clash of            Civilizations?TheoryThe challenge to westernliberal ideology in the contextof the ‘war on te...
Week 8:Citizenship &         InequalityTheoryTheories of citizenshipSocial exclusion andinequality (class, race,gender)Per...
Week 9: Democracy and its        discontentsTheoryComparative theories ofdemocracyThe functioning of‘liberal democracy’Per...
Week 10: Action for ChangeTheorySocial movement theoryAfter ‘alterglobalization’PerspectivesThe anti-austeritymovements (U...
Week 7: Assessment     WorkshopGuide to essay writingWork on essay planWork around criteria and expectationsPeer evaluation
ResourcesStudy Direct forbonus resources,discussion forum,links to readingsand links to...SlideshareEnhanced podcastson Vi...
Your contributionsPick a topicPost it on the Open Forum by Week 2Post on FB continuously whenever youlikeReport to the sem...
Friston 260Mondays 11-1 & Friday am  a.lentin@sussex.ac.uk         (87)3470
Power and politics from a sociological perspective
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Power and politics from a sociological perspective

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The aim of this first session is to introduce the general aims of the course, and to answer any queries you may have.

We will have an initial discussion about what the concerns of political sociology are. In particular, we will be focusing on the connection between politics and society and on the ways in which power, at both the local and the global levels, functions to produce inequalities.

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  • \n
  • Introduce myself\n\nAsk students to pair up and interview each other:\n- Name\n- Course\n- Why Polsoc\n- 1 interesting fact\n\nResources: Coloured paper/scotch/markers\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • 1. Ask students to think about what they mean by politics using post-its.\nIndividual work\nPost on wall and group thematically.\n\nResources: post-its\n\n2. Reveal themes. How do they fit in with the students’ thoughts?\n
  • Why read Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History of the American Century’ to find out more about the ideas behind political sociology?\n\nWatch this excerpt from the graphic version of the book. Note down the main points of what he is saying.\n\nAfter the film: Zinn shows us how world events not only have an effect on how we lead our lives, but also that we in turn can have an effect on the course history follows depending on how we react to what we experience.\n\nThis leads us to looking at the relationship between society and politics...\n
  • It is important to understand, that political processes and institutions do not emerge in a void. In other words, while they do not always take public opinion into account, they nevertheless reflect social structures and have an impact upon them.\n\nFor example, the British class system has an important effect on the way in which governmental institutions and state bodies have been formed. We could not envisage labour rights or social security services without the history of class-based protest that made it possible for the reforms that enabled them to take place.\n\nSimilarly, events on the global political stage and the concomitant changes in the global economy have a direct impact on the way local lives are led - how we do our shopping, how we travel, what jobs we can get etc. \n\n
  • It is important to understand, that political processes and institutions do not emerge in a void. In other words, while they do not always take public opinion into account, they nevertheless reflect social structures and have an impact upon them.\n\nFor example, the British class system has an important effect on the way in which governmental institutions and state bodies have been formed. We could not envisage labour rights or social security services without the history of class-based protest that made it possible for the reforms that enabled them to take place.\n\nSimilarly, events on the global political stage and the concomitant changes in the global economy have a direct impact on the way local lives are led - how we do our shopping, how we travel, what jobs we can get etc. \n\n
  • \n
  • Ultimately political sociology is concerned with how power operates.\n\nAs Kate Nash points out (reading for Week 2), although Max Weber’s definition seems to imply that power can be exercised in a variety of circumstances - not just political ones - traditionally, political sociology has taken it as a given that the most important site of power is the state. Political sociologists have therefore mainly focused on how states have wielded power over individuals/citizens.\n\nHowever, as Nash also stresses, more recently analyses of power have shifted away from a sole focus on the state for a variety of reasons including \n- globalization and the lessening importance of the nation-state\n- a change in traditional class formations due to the changing nature of work (flexibilised, precarious, knowledge soceity)\n- a flexibilization and pluralization of values and lifestyles due to the greater acceptance of non-normative identities.\n\nDespite these cultural changes which Nash says have led to a focus in political sociology on cultural politics (e.g. the way in which race, gender, sexuality, location, age, ability, work, etc. affect one’s social and political positioning), more classically ‘hard-nosed’ issues continue to exist side-by-side with these more identity-based considerations.\n\nEspecially in today’s economic climate we might be seeing a return to more Marxian analyses of capital and the effect that the crisis of capitalism has on class relations. There seems to be an ever growing gap between the richest and the poorest in society, both at a domestic and on a global level. These disparities cannot be explained culturally alone. \n\nPolitical sociology today should be focused on how ideology, economics, the state, global capital, and individual social relations play a part in making sense of our political world. \n\n\n
  • In this course, we will be focusing on how power is exercised in a variety of circumstances, prioritising the effect this has on individuals but also on how individuals - acting together with others - can challenge or overturn their circumstances.\n\nAs Michel Foucault has noted, power has no one centre. We are both the objects and the subjects of power meaning that we all exercise power in different circumstances. However, we do not all have the possibility to affect political or institutional power.\n\nWe see power in operation most obviously at the times in which power is being resisted. Here we see individuals without power attempting to become the subjects of power (e.g during revolutions or other social mobilisations - think of the events of the Arab Spring) and we also see the state and its institutions exercising its power against that resistance (for example Syrian President Assad’s violent repression of protestors). \n\nIn this course we will be paying a lot of attention to power as a process that produces inequalities but also at the way in which people can resist their exploitation.\n
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  • Power and politics from a sociological perspective

    1. 1. Political Sociology I Week 1: Power & Politics from a Sociological Perspective Dr Alana Lentin
    2. 2. IntroductionsWho am I?Who are you?
    3. 3. What are we dealing with?
    4. 4. What are we dealing with? The State Citizenship Race SexualityGovernance Economics Gender Inequality Nations Social classInterdependence Exploitation Surveillance Globalization Social change Corruption Democracy Protest Punishment Power
    5. 5. Howard Zinn’sA People’s History
    6. 6. ‘Political sociology looks to “the socialcircumstances of politics, that is, to howpolitics both is shaped by and shapesother events in societies”.’ Anthony Orum (1983)
    7. 7. ‘Political sociology looks to “the socialcircumstances of politics, that is, to howpolitics both is shaped by and shapesother events in societies”.’ Anthony Orum (1983)“Is there a distinctive sociologicalcontribution to the study of politics? Ifthere is, it is perhaps in this attempt tomake connections - between constitutionaltheory and class structure, between socialbase and political doctrine, betweenglobal changes and local politics.” Outhwaite and Martell (1998)
    8. 8. Shaping and beingshaped by politicsThink of an examplewhere a governmentdecision or a worldpolitical event hadan impact on you?Have your actionsever had an impacton politics? If so,how?
    9. 9. “The chance of a man or a number of men torealise their own will in a communal action evenagainst the resistance of others who areparticipating in the action.” Max Weber
    10. 10. Power & Resistance
    11. 11. Overview2 3 4 56 8 9 10
    12. 12. Teaching & LearningLecture - main theoretical overviewReaction and critiqueCase study (introduced using film,webdocs, blogs, articles, photos...)Bringing theory and practice together(different method each week)Ongoing contributions (more at theend)
    13. 13. Week 2: Theories of PowerTheoryThe relationship betweenthe state, capital andcitizensMarxist, neo-Marxist versusWeberian approachesPerspectivesThe Hacking ScandalMethodsMapping power exercise
    14. 14. Week 3: The Shrinking WorldTheoryGlobalization,interdependence, decolonialand border thinkingContrasting westernapproaches to globalizationwith historicised emphasison interconnectionPerspectivesThe Big Sell OutMethodsFilm
    15. 15. Week 4: Neoliberalism, Politics & SocietyTheoryThe relationship betweenthe state and capitalunder neoliberalismIdeology andindividualisationPerspectivesPost-Hurricane KatrinaMethodsTV/Newspapers
    16. 16. Week 5: The Disciplinary & Punitive StateTheoryFoucauldian approaches todiscipline, surveillanceand punishmentThe panopticonPerspectivesPrison-industrialcomplex: Prison ValleyMethodsWebdoc
    17. 17. Week 6: A Clash of Civilizations?TheoryThe challenge to westernliberal ideology in the contextof the ‘war on terror’Critical, post-secular analysesof the relationship between theWest and IslamPerspectivesThe ‘veil debate’Methods‘Couscous global’
    18. 18. Week 8:Citizenship & InequalityTheoryTheories of citizenshipSocial exclusion andinequality (class, race,gender)PerspectivesThe UK post-riotsMethodsBlog analysis
    19. 19. Week 9: Democracy and its discontentsTheoryComparative theories ofdemocracyThe functioning of‘liberal democracy’PerspectivesIndian democracyMethodsArticles
    20. 20. Week 10: Action for ChangeTheorySocial movement theoryAfter ‘alterglobalization’PerspectivesThe anti-austeritymovements (UK, Greece,Spain, US...)MethodsAnalysis of activistmethods
    21. 21. Week 7: Assessment WorkshopGuide to essay writingWork on essay planWork around criteria and expectationsPeer evaluation
    22. 22. ResourcesStudy Direct forbonus resources,discussion forum,links to readingsand links to...SlideshareEnhanced podcastson VimeoFacebook group
    23. 23. Your contributionsPick a topicPost it on the Open Forum by Week 2Post on FB continuously whenever youlikeReport to the seminar
    24. 24. Friston 260Mondays 11-1 & Friday am a.lentin@sussex.ac.uk (87)3470

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