COMPS IN POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY OCTOBER 2005 General Exam – Day 1 The core exam has two parts. I. PART ONE Answer the following 2 questions: 1. Political sociologists have long explored the social sources of political institutions (e.g., Moore’s investigation of dictatorship and democracy). In Bringing the State Back In, Evans, Ruesschemeyer and Skocpol argued for greater attention to the autonomy of political institutions or the state. Using several examples, consider the theoretical assumptions, interpretations of historical evidence, and methods of analysis that structure the debate and discuss the different ways that state autonomy has been conceptualized. Conclude your essay by indicating what you see as the strengths and limitations of the state autonomy perspective for the study of a political issue of your choice. 2. At the heart of political sociology are different theories of power. What are some of the more important theoretical conceptions of power that have shaped research in political sociology? How do these different conceptions of power—e.g., pluralist conceptions, Lukes’ view, Foucault’s specification, or others – lead to different understandings of the workings of political institutions and their affects on individuals and collectivities? PART II. ANSWER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS: 3. From Foucault’s statement, “The pastoral, the new diplomatico-military technics, and finally the police were the three elements from which the phenomenon of the governmentalization of the state, so fundamental in the history of the West, could be produced” (Foucault 2001: 222), we get a bleak image of modern society as a disciplined citizenry molded by the forces of governmentality. On the other hand, from Tilly, Tarrow, and others, we get the image of contemporary societies as a place where challengers and state interact regularly in contentious politics. Which image better represents political realities? Can we reconcile the two images? 4. In reply to the argument about the demise of the nation state, some commentators claim that the basic change in the nature of the state brought about by neoliberal policies is not its shrinking or withdrawal, but a different way of governing, more managerial and with more pervasive relations with citizens. Evaluate this claim by drawing on several studies. 5. In Tocqueville’s observations of America he was impressed with the civic engagement of ordinary citizens, with the American inclination to form voluntary associations. Habermas in his early writings sought to explain the emergence of a modern public sphere. Using examples from recent research in political sociology, discuss debates about the significance and role of civil society in different cultures and political systems. Day 2 Democratization: Answer 3 of the following: 1. What is social capital and who has it? What is the relationship between social capital and civic engagement? Can we use the former to explain the latter? And what does this relationship have to do with democracy? Use the works of Bourdieu, Putnam, and any others that you see relevant to address these interrelated questions. 2. Some authors claim that the struggle over citizenship rights and responsibilities has become more significant than class and socio-economic conditions in producing social movements. Are issues of citizenship treated today on the same grounds as Marshall did or on new grounds? Drawing on the theoretical literature and using examples, discuss the strengths and limitations of the claim that citizenship may matter more than class. 3. Examine the ways in which globalization leads to international convergence in institutions and cultures on the one hand, and to internal (regional) divergence within countries on the other. Use concrete examples. 4. While some authors (for ex. Michels) seek to generate a theory of the workings of democracy, others (for ex. Huntington) consider how nation-states transition to democracy. Compare studies that exemplify each approach and discuss debates about the conditions that lead to democratization. 5. A debate on State and Gender has centered on whether women’s rights and democratization are likely to occur together. It raises questions about the effect of different processes such as reforms from above, pressures from below, and influence from abroad. By referring to empirical studies and theoretical arguments, assess the extent to which women’s empowerment, understood as an expansion of rights and opportunities, can be ascribed to democratization in a variety of contexts.