crc  .  syllabi collection  .  alumni syllabi  .  sociology  .

   Course Title    Comparative Political Sociology
Lecturer    Olga Kutsenko
Institution    Kharkiv State University
Country    Ukraine

Aim of the course

To provide students with a framework for understanding comparative political sociology as a science and seeing it as a tool applicable to social problems and social processes of post-soviet political space in the context of the transition period.

Students will be exposed to fundamental concepts used in Western and Post-Communist comparative political sociology, to both historical and contemporary sociological theories and theorists, to research methods for picking out empirical data.

One of the key goals of the course "Comparative Political Sociology" will be to get students to think sociologically about reality of Ukrainian political space in the background of changes in both the Western and Post-Communist political spaces.

Role of the course in the overall degree curriculum

The social and political context analysis shows that political sociology has become one of the symbols and realities of democratic transformation in Ukraine. The main topic of intellectual discussion in the field of emerging political sociology is modality, direction and perspective of Ukrainian transition from the Communist order. In such situation comparative political sociological analysis helps young sociologists to develop explanations and test theories of the ways in which political processes work and in which political changes occurs. The comparative approach also stimulates young scientists to form general sociological theories on political relationships and system transformation. So the development of the course "Comparative Political Sociology" is very important for the sociological curriculum in contemporary Ukraine.

Methods used

This course will be conducted primarily as a lecture discussion class for students of the Sociology Faculty of Kharkiv State University. Four methods of active learning will be incorporated in the course (group discussion, role-playing, problem task decision). Special attention will be paid to practical work to master research methodology.

Course content

The course is supposed to be built on the idea of politics as "a game space" where social dialogue could be developed and actors could be explored in detail. The most attention will be paid to the social mechanisms of political changes in contemporary societies.

Themes that will be examined within the course "Comparative Political Sociology" include:

  1. Western comparative political sociology: roots, main, stages and ways of development.

  2. Soviet political sociology and political sociology in post-soviet countries: roots, ways and problems of development.

  3. Concepts in comparative political sociology: why and how we compare, comparative systems and methods.

  4. Political culture and political identification: trends in contemporary political cultures, agents of political identification. Differentiation for various states.

  5. Political structure and a quality of social changes: quality of ruling elites, interest group development, trends in interest aggregations. Differentiation for various societies.

  6. Political recruitment: exploration of elections, recruitment of citizens and elites. Comparison of different types.

  7. Democracy of social consent for multi-composed society. Social political indexes of democracy changes.

  8. Political transformation: theoretical approaches, social indicators and ways of social conflict resolving (social dialogue and political participation). Perspectives on Comparative political Studies.


  1. Mandatory

    1. Bottomore, Tom. Political Sociology. London: Pluto Press, 1993.
    2. Dogan, Mattei and Dominique Pelassy. How to Compare Nations. Strategies in Comparative Politics. New Jersy: Chatman House Publishers, 1990
    3. Heywood, Andrew. Politics. MACMILLAN Press, 1997.
    4. Almond, Gabriel A. And G.Bingham Powell. Comparative Politics. A Theoretical Framework. Harper Collins College Publishers, 1996
    5. Kegley, Charles W. and Eugene R. Wittkopf. World Politics. Trend and Transformation. New York, St.Martinís Press, 1993
    6. Manheim, Jarol B. and Richard K.Rich. Empirical Political Analysis: Research Methods in Political Science. New York, Moscow, "All World" Publisher, 1997.
    7. Bourdie, Pier. Sociology of Politics. ( on Russian) Moscow, 1993

  2. Recommended

    1. Aron, Raymond. Democracy and Totalitarianism. Moscow: "Text" Publisher, 1993

    2. Dogan M. and Higley J Elites, Crises and the Origins of Regimes. Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998

    3. Stefan Szucs. Democracy in the Head. A comparative analysis of democratic leadership. CEFOS, Goteborg university, 1998

    4. Classes and Elites in Democracy and Democratization. Ed. by E. Etzioni-Halevy. Publisher: Garland Publishing, Hamden, 1997

    5. Kluegel, J.R., etc. (Eds.). Social Justice and Political Change. Berlin / N.Y.:de Gruyter, 1995.

    6. Wallerstein, Immanuel. The Modern World-System III: The Second Era of Great Expansion of the Capitalist World-System. San-Diego: Academic Press, 1988.

    7. Mass Politics: Studies in Political Sociology. Ed. by Erik Allardt and Stein Rokkan. New York: Free Press, 1970

    8. Kaase, Max and Alan Marsh. Political Action: Mass Participation in Five Democracies. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1979

    9. Lijphart, Arend. Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus Government in Twenty-one Countries. New Haven: Yale Univer. Press, 1984

    10. Lipset, Seymour Martin. Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univer. Press, 1981

    11. Almond, Gabriel and Sidney Verba. The Civic Culture. Princeton: Princeton Univer. Press, 1963

    12. Comparative Methodology. Theory and Practice in International Social Research. Ed. by Else Oyen. ISA: SAGE, 1990

    13. Agency and Structure. Reorienting Social Theory. Ed by R. Sztompka

    14. The Sociology of Elites. Ed. by J. Scott. Edward Elgar Publisher, 1990

    15. The Transformation in Europe. Ed. by W. Weselowski, ets. Warsaw, 1996

    16. Crompton, Rosemary. Class and Stratification. An Introduction to Current Debates. Polity Press, 1993

    17. Building Open Society and Perspectives of Sociology in East-Central Europe. Ed. by P. Sztompka. Pre-Congress Volumes. Krakow, 1996

    18. After Communism. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Radical Social Change. Ed. by Edmund Wnuk-Lipinski. Warsaw, 1995.


   crc  .  syllabi collection  .  alumni syllabi  .  sociology  .