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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2020

9 - Tasks for the Political Sociology of the Next Ten Years

from I - Theories of Political Sociology


We here make some suggestions as to how a specifically sociological approach to politics can build upon the course corrections recently made in political and historical sociology, as well as in the theory of action and of social structures. We argue that late-twentieth-century political sociology was led in several directions that were unprofitable. First, this political sociology was characterized by a disproportionate (and largely disappointing) focus on large-scale transitions, like revolutions, or other significant outcomes, at the expense of the examination of regularities in conventional political process. Second, the sociology that did treat everyday, lay, political behavior tended to embrace a notion of action that confused the reasons people gave for their choices with the predictors of their actions. Third, there was relatively little attention to the sociology of political elites as members of face-to-face groups with their own imperatives and organizational principles.

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