Political and Historical Sociology

This cluster explores interdisciplinary scholarship in socio-economic, cultural and political history. The focus is on the nature, dynamics and interacting influences of culture, politics and institutions, explored at all levels of analysis. Research is guided by the recurring theoretical problems of causality, origins, continuity and change. Research topics include the divergent developmental paths of capitalism and socialism; slavery, colonialism and their post-colonial consequences; the historical constructions of race-ethnicity and anti-racist strategies; the relationships between collective identities, political discourse, and political change; political and economic consequences of global and regional integration; and the origins, development and diffusion of major politico-cultural values and institutions such as freedom, liberalism and democracy. The department¹s Workshop in History, Culture and Sociology provides a forum for the presentation of scholarship in this cluster from across the university and region.

The department sponsors the Workshop in History, Culture, and Society.

News related to Political & Historical Sociology

Headshot of Bart Bonikowski, Assistant Professor of Sociology.

The Mobilization of Resentment: Making Sense of Populism, Nationalism, and Authoritarianism in the United States and Europe

September 7, 2017

Scholarly and journalistic accounts of the recent successes of radical-right candidates and parties in Europe and the United States tend to conflate three phenomena: populism, nationalism, and authoritarianism. While all three are relevant features of contemporary politics, they are neither coterminous nor limited to the political right. This lack of analytical clarity has hindered explanations of the causes and consequences of radicalism on both sides of the Atlantic. In a new project that builds on his past empirical research, Bart Bonikowski draws analytical distinctions between populism, nationalism, and authoritarianism, theorizes their elective affinities, and examines their shifting prevalence over the past three decades, both in political discourse and public attitudes.... Read more about The Mobilization of Resentment: Making Sense of Populism, Nationalism, and Authoritarianism in the United States and Europe

Viterna Team

Examining the Unintended Consequences of Social Mobilization

August 9, 2017

We tend to think of social movements as promoters of social change, but might they also be key agents in maintaining—and even reinforcing—the status quo? Harvard professor Jocelyn Viterna, with graduate student Bo Yun Park and undergraduate students Quinn Sluzenski, Enya Huang, and Bryant Park, are examining hundreds of press releases from 10 oppositional “pairs” of U.S. social movements (e.g., gun rights vs gun control, anti-abortion rights vs pro-abortion rights, etc) to examine this question. Building from existing social movement theory, our team hypothesizes that all social movements incorporate culturally resonant “tethers” into their calls for social change. ... Read more about Examining the Unintended Consequences of Social Mobilization

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