Politics and Social Change (SOC 316)

We have renamed the Transnational Studies Initiative/Politics and Social Change (PSC) Workshop. It is now the Politics and Social Change Workshop: Exploring the nexus between local, state, national, and transnational actors. This workshop extends and expands upon the work begun by the Conversations Across Borders Workshop.
According to some media sources, the current nationalist tendencies in U.S. and European politics may signal the beginning of the end of globalization. Indeed, the current U.S. administration has overseen crackdowns on international migration, proposals to limit trade, and proposals to slash budgets for humanitarian and development aid to poor countries. But globalization—and the movement of ideas, capital, goods, and people that goes along with it—is unlikely to disappear. Global capitalism is a more powerful force than national politics; by choice or by force, people will continue to interact and move across borders.  
This seminar explores the intersection of politics, society, and development in the current historical moment. Nationalist ideologies have gained power, but the social contract between citizen and state is no longer solely fulfilled within the boundaries of the nation-state. How will these new dynamics unfold, and what will their effects be on institutions and individuals? 

Our workshop explores politics and development from a multi-scalar perspective. Our speakers explore various types of political actors and actions operating at multiple levels and multiple sites; consider the ways in which these complement, subvert, or otherwise intertwine with one another; and ask what that means for the nation as a viable frame for understanding identity, culture, and politics. We meet twice a month, and encourage participants to present works in progress, as well as provide opportunities for collaborative research endeavors. 

The Politics and Social Change workshop promotes the development of a community of scholars interested in how power relations shape social patterns in societies around the world. We define ‘politics’ broadly to include everything from gender politics within the household to state politics within a transnational system. Our participants’ interests span a wide range of topics, including political sociology, political economy, political violence, political behavior, political culture, governance, social movements, civil society, NGOs, protest, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, the media, the environment, and development. During most meetings, group participants take turns discussing their works in progress. Once or twice a semester, we also bring in outside speakers to discuss topics of interest to our members. Open to the public. The seminar is chaired by Jocelyn Viterna, associate professor of sociology, Harvard University. Meets every other Wednesday from 4-6 pm.

Faculty Sponsors Jocelyn Viterna, Bart Bonikowski, Ya Wen Lei, Peggy Levitt (Wellesley)
Workshop Coordinator  Brianna Castro, Cresa Pugh
Website https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/27657
Mailing List https://lists.fas.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/transnational-studies-list
Email Contact

Brianna Castro, Graduate Student
Cresa Pugh, Graduate Student