Comparative Sociology and Social Change

Research in this cluster examines the causes and consequences of cross-national, cross-cultural variations in social processes.  Comparative scholars at Harvard analyze a wide array of topics, including political institutions, civil society, cultural repertoires, labor markets, welfare systems, inequality, knowledge, violence, global and regional integration, and economic development.

News related to Comparative Sociology and Social Change

Ya-Wen Lei stands in front of a wood and glass doorway

The Contentious Public Sphere: Law, Media, and Authoritarian Rule in China

January 5, 2017

Conventional wisdom imagines political life in authoritarian contexts to be bleak and suffocating, and popular understandings of China are no exception. Nonetheless, since the mid-2000s, a nationwide contentious public sphere has developed in China—providing an unprecedented forum for Chinese citizens to influence the public agenda and demand government accountability.

Michele Lamont

Culture and Inequality through Various Prisms

September 1, 2016

This August, Michèle Lamont began a term as the 108th President of the American Sociological Association. This honor came with a number of responsibilities, including organizing the 2017 ASA Annual Meeting. She chose as a theme “Culture, Inequalities, and Social Inclusion across the Globe.” Participants can look forward to plenary sessions on topics such as “Dignity, Morality, and the Bridging of Group Boundaries,” “The Politics of Distribution and Recognition,” “The Pursuit of Inclusion through Law, Policies, and Narratives,” and much more.

Mary Brinton stands in front of a building on Harvard's Cambridge campus.

Gender Equity and Low Fertility in Postindustrial Societies

May 17, 2016

Progress towards gender equality was substantial on many fronts in the decades leading up to the 1990s. Since then, movement towards gender equality has slowed. The gender wage gap has narrowed at a slower pace in the past 20 years, and the same can be said for occupational sex segregation. Postindustrial societies show variation in these patterns and in the consequences that ensue. 

Headshot of Bart Bonikowski, Assistant Professor of Sociology.

Populist Politics and Nationalist Beliefs in Contemporary Democracies

March 8, 2016

In recent months, populist politics appealing to deep-seated nationalist sentiments have risen to prominence in American public discourse. This trend has been primarily reflected in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, but its echoes can also be found in the rhetoric of other Republican presidential candidates. Political scientists, journalists, and politicians have been caught off guard by this seemingly sudden shift in U.S. political discourse and its resonance with a large plurality of voters in the Republican primary.

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