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Contemporary Sociological Theory

Учебный год
Обучение ведется на английском языке
Курс обязательный
Когда читается:
1-й курс, 1 модуль


Course Syllabus


The ability to compare effectively involves the ability to be clearheaded about what is to be compared. Questions regarding the “unit of analysis/comparison” are therefore at the center of any comparative endeavor in sociology and the social sciences more generally. These questions are approached in this course primarily from a meta-theoretical vantage point. Accordingly, we will focus not so much on “what is compared” as on “what sort of thing is compared” and on “how to go about comparing it.” This course is designed to be a broad orientation to the different methodologies featured in the program in International Master in Comparative Social Research. The goal at hand is to strengthen whatever weaknesses the course attendees may have on the topic and to improve their ability to become, down the road, intelligent about methodology as well as proficient.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • to study seminal texts in comparative social research
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • understand basic principles of comparative social research
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction
    The first session will introduce the main concepts of comparative political sociology and lay out the course plan and requirements from student participation. We will collect and discuss different forms of comparative social research and our understanding of it.
  • Two Programs of Comparative Social Research
    The session discusses the works of Emile Durkheim and Max Weber as foundational classics of comparative social research. We will compare their main principles and differences in research designs and questions.
  • History of Empirical Cross-national Comparative Research
    This session will introduce the main debates and direction in contemporary cross-national comparative research and ask about their potential for sociological theory development.
  • Central Issues of Comparative Social Analysis I
    This session discusses two classical studies in comparative research dealing with the welfare state and capitalism and confronts them with contemporary criticism.
  • Conceptionalizing Types of Comparison
    The session introduces Charles Tilly´s distinction between different types of comparison in social science. We will criticize and apply the concepts to various research questions.
  • Variables and Cases in Comparative Research Designs
    This session discusses the main differences between case-oriented and variable-oriented research designs and discusses various forms of case selection in empirical studies.
  • Central Issues of Comparative Social Analysis II
    This session discusses a classical comparative study dealing with different forms of democracy, but also introduces into current debates in comparative sociology.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking position paper 1
  • non-blocking class presentation
  • non-blocking position paper 2
  • non-blocking position paper 3
  • non-blocking position paper 4
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (1 module)
    0.2 * class presentation + 0.2 * position paper 1 + 0.2 * position paper 2 + 0.2 * position paper 3 + 0.2 * position paper 4


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Blyton, P. (2001). The General and the Particular in Cross-National Comparative Research. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 50(4), 590–595. https://doi.org/10.1111/1464-0597.00074
  • Font, J., della Porta, D., & Sintomer, Y. (2012). Presentation. Methodological challenges in participation research. Revista Internacional de Sociología, (Extra_2), 9. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsdoj&AN=edsdoj.800e74344fc48fa94f8da80b7c6579b
  • Lijphart, A. (2011). Democratic Quality in Stable Democracies. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.A9BD1B40
  • Smelser, N. J. (1994). Sociological theories. International Social Science Journal, 46(139), 1. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=sih&AN=9504100912
  • Soskice, D. (2005). Varieties of Capitalism and Cross-National Gender Differences. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.CAFCCDD2
  • Tilly, C. (DE-588)121677117, (DE-576)163318476, 1929-2008. (2007). Democracy / Charles Tilly. Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.263615383
  • Wiseman, A. W., & Popov, N. (2015). Comparative Science : Interdisciplinary Approaches (Vol. First edition). Bingley, England: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=993133

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Crawford, B., & Lijphart, A. (1997). Liberalization and Leninist Legacies: Comparative Perspectives on Democratic Transitions. United States, North America: eScholarship, University of California. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.DB007F5
  • Hall, T. D. (2017). Comparing Globalizations : Historical and World-Systems Approaches. Cham: Springer. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1636710
  • Iversen, T., & Soskice, D. (2005). Electoral institutions, parties, and the politics of class: Why some democracies redistribute more than others. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.65DCFAFA
  • Kucera, D. (2007). Qualitative Indicators of Labour Standards : Comparative Methods and Applications. Dordrecht: Springer. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=196760
  • Rainer Bauböck, Donatella Della Porta, Ignacio Lago, & Camil Ungureanu. (2012). What methodological “wars” methodological pluralism? Revista Española de Ciencia Política, (29), 11. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsdoj&AN=edsdoj.2385852644e540ab804dd172189cabdd
  • Stroschein, S. (2004). From Contention to Coexistence in Local Politics: Mixed Cities in Central Europe. Conference Papers —— American Political Science Association, 1–34. https://doi.org/apsa_proceeding_29943.PDF
  • Tilly, C. (1998). Democratization. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edssch&AN=edssch.oai%3aescholarship.org%2fark%3a%2f13030%2fqt98t901j5