Fall 2019 - SA 325 D100

Political Sociology (S) (4)

Class Number: 3961

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Tue, Thu, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Gary Teeple
    1 778 782-4734
    Office: AQ 5064
    Office Hours: TU/TH 09:30-10:20 or by appointment
  • 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.


This course is a sociological analysis of the principal elements of the structure of modern western democracy.  Beginning with a discussion of the history of the origin of the modern state, the course will examine the meaning of human rights, the nature of freedom and equality, sovereignty, representation, bureaucracy, the division of powers, law, political parties, suffrage, and the relationship between the state and the economy, to mention some of the issues.

The approach to the material will be broadly historical and analytical, meaning (a) that the history of these democratic institutions will be briefly traced, and (b) that our understanding of them will come from an analysis of why they arose and the function they perform in the political process. We will not be merely describing these institutions; our analysis and understanding, in fact, will begin after the portrayal of their formal functions.


At the end of the course, the student should have:

  1. a broad grasp of the history and nature of modern democracy,
  2. a general knowledge of the main sociological concepts pertaining to politics,
  3. a novel and critical view of the meaning of the political process, and
  4. critical thoughts on the future of democratic politics in a global economy.
Throughout the course, we shall also explore the implications of globalization for modern liberal democracy.


  • Weekly study notes 10%
  • Critical book review 40%
  • Term essay 50%


Grading: 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



This course will differ from many others in that there is no single text or specific readings; and this for the simple reason that any number of books, book chapters or articles will do for the analysis that the course intends to follow. In other words, any of the readings in the sections from the outline below, and others not listed but from academic sources, will provide the material necessary to complete the requirements for the course.

It is expected, naturally, that students will read something from each section. It is also expected that the reflections on these readings will be brought to the class and form the basis for student participation.


To have read something prior to the course on the principles of modern constitutional government will be a great advantage since the course will assume a certain knowledge of these principles.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/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