Fall 2016 - SA 325 J100

Political Sociology (S) (4)

Class Number: 3487

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2016: Sun, 12:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Efe Gurcan
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of the relations of power and authority. This course will analyze the interrelations of family, church, class, interest groups, etc., particularly as they influence and are influenced by the state. The relations of law and ideology to the structures of government will form the context for this analysis. The course may also focus on broad theoretical questions of contemporary political interest.


Political sociology is the study of power, inequality, and conflict in society. Who rules and is ruled? How is the ruled persuaded or coerced into complying with the social regulations in place? What is the role of the state and other social institutions in reproducing power relations? Whose interests are served in maintaining the status quo? How can the ruled challenge power relations in society? This course introduces key texts of political sociology and offers ways of reading more deeply into them through structured discussions and documentary excerpts. Topics include revolutionary movements, social mobilization, state formation, democracy, and class conflict. Class discussions will relate theoretical issues to contemporary issues and case studies such as the U.S. neoliberal restructuring and economic crisis, Arab Spring, Occupy, Idle No More, and Black Lives Matter. At the end of the semester, students will have successfully gained an intermediate knowledge and critical understanding of classical political sociological theories, with an emphasis on elite, neo-Marxist, and poststructural thinking. This is a 4-hour long seminar that involves a lecture (1/1.5 hour), documentary projection (1 hour) and class discussions (1/1.5 hour).


  • Participation & News Article Presentation: 20%
  • 1st Midterm: 25%
  • 2nd Midterm: 25%
  • Case-Study Paper: 30%


Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐ S10.04).  Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.    



Excerpts from the following books will be uploaded onto Canvas (no purchase necessary):

  • G. William Domhoff, Who Rules America? Power, Politics, & Social Change, McGraw- Hill, 2006.   
  • Doug McAdam, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency 1930-1970, The University of Chicago Press, 1985.   
  • Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China, Cambridge University Press, 2008.   
  • Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.  
  • Bob Jessop, The State: Past, Present, Future, Polity, 2016.


  • Thomas Janoski (Ed.), The Handbook of Political Sociology: States, Civil Societies, and Globalization, Cambridge University Press, 2005.
(Excerpts will be available on Canvas)

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html