Content and Structure

What is Political Sociology?

The task of political sociology is to explore and explain the relationship between politics and society, between social and political institutions, and between social and political behaviour.

Contemporary political sociology also “concerns cultural politics, which is the interpretation of social meanings that support, challenge, or change the definitions, perspectives and identities of social actors, to the advantage of some and the disadvantage of others, across state and society” (Nash 2010).

This course aims to explore some of the great debates about the relationship between politics and society. In particular, it explores the challenges faced by nation-state as a result of social movements, new conceptions of democracy and globalization.



1. Politics and Society

  • Key concepts in political sociology
  • Political sociology as a connective social science
  • Power and Legitimacy
  • The distribution of power

2.Globalization and Ideologies

  • Ideologies
  • Ideology and Hegemony
  • Hegemonic culture
  • Global world, globalization and ideologies


  • The quality of democracy
  • Representative and direct democracy
  • Deliberative democracy
  • Participatory democracy

4. Representation

  • The transformation of political representation
  • Political Parties
  • Elections and voting
  • Post-representative politics

5. Political Participation

  • Critic citizens and the new forms of participation
  • Social conflict and urban practices of participation
  • Social Movements
  • Movement Parties

6. Democratic Innovations and Citizenship

  • Social Cleavages
  • Civic engagement and political behaviour
  • Active citizenship and quality of democracy
  • Forms and tools of democratic innovations
  • Gender, Ethnicity and post-national citizenship

7. Populism and authoritarianism

  • Definitions and approaches
  • Causes and impact on democracy
  • Populism and fascism
  • Populism and nationalism
  • Populism and neoliberalism

8. Postcolonialism

  • Definitions and approaches
  • Postcolonialism and intersectionality
  • Decolonisation of knowledge
  • Populism in former colonies
  • Populism in former colonizing countries

9. Media, Politics and Society

  • Basic concepts
  • Cultural Studies and critical media studies
  • Models and theories of communication
  • Political Communication

10. Depoliticisation and the Post-Political

  • Depoliticisation: basic concepts
  • Governance vs Government
  • Post-democracy and post-representative politics
  • Technocracy, the post-political and the technopopulism
  • The rising of the new populisms between hyper-representation and “direct representation”

Going further

  • Focus 1: Globalization, the pandemic and the ecological approaches
  • Focus 2: Online participation
  • Focus 3: Post-colonialism and populisms