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We are living in a golden age for the political sociology of public finance. The study of taxation and public debt often has been assumed to belong to the domain of economics, but fiscal policies, like other public policies, are the outcomes of political processes that can be studied sociologically, and the eclectic theoretical toolkit of contemporary political sociology – stocked as it is with concepts and middle-range theories from pluralist, institutionalist, power elite, Marxist, feminist, post-structuralist, and other theoretical traditions – can be applied as well to this domain as to any other.
How will political sociology help us discern and analyze such changes now and in the next few decades? The future of politics is as uncertain as ever, but a brief overview of the history of political sociology may offer some clues to the theoretical challenges and opportunities ahead. For convenience, we divide the recent history of political sociology into three periods, suggesting that the field is now entering a fourth period with an expanding focus.
Political sociology is a large and expanding field with many new developments, and The New Handbook of Political Sociology supplies the knowledge necessary to keep up with this exciting field. Written by a distinguished group of leading scholars in sociology, this volume provides a survey of this vibrant and growing field in the new millennium. The Handbook presents the field in six parts: theories of political sociology, the information and knowledge explosion, the state and political parties, civil society and citizenship, the varieties of state policies, and globalization and how it affects politics. Covering all subareas of the field with both theoretical orientations and empirical studies, it directly connects scholars with current research in the field. A total reconceptualization of the first edition, the new handbook features nine additional chapters and highlights the impact of the media and big data.