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Political Sociology Keister
Exam 1
Political Studies
Undergraduate 4

Additional Political Studies Flashcards





What is political sociology? 



What is the general view of society and politics?




How is stratification involved? 


The study of power and relationships between society and politics

Public opinion drives politics Balance between competing demands

Common good is the outcome

 Common good reflects the sum of individual interests

It influences who gets involved ; addresses different access to resources.;  Poses the questions of Who matters and Who is heard?

What are the 3 eras of political sociology?

Classic Era (1950s)

The triumph of democracy - attempting to determine the preconditions of democracy - looks at why some societies become democratic and some become totalitarian - End of ideology Apathy

Rupture and Redirection (1960s-1970s)

Rise of major protest movements - seen as a normal and important part of social change- elites started to be studied - critiques of anti-democratic US foreign policy - Crises of Democracy/is excessive democracy the problem? Unbridled Capitalism leads to problems

Fragmentation (1980's-1990's) 5 features

1) Sensitivity to historical change2) Appreciation of culture as central to exercise of power i.e. media3) Appreciates linkages across scales - micro to macro views (state-nation-globe)4) Takes formation of social identity and social movement as key concerns5) Structure and agency are considered



What is power? 



What are it's three dimensions?


1st Dimension: observable conflict among competing interests with fair, explicit rules. (courts, Congress)

2nd Dimension: barely visible processes that limit/shape 1st Dimension. (agenda-setting, non decision, filibustering)

3rd Dimension: Invisible influence in patterns of thought & activity organization. (racism, sexism)

What is the role of the state?

Used in diverse ways: 

apparatus of organizations of government

aspects of society affected by government 

Buildings, people, institutions, symbols  

Social roles, rules, laws


The state as a collective actor:

organized, coordinated collection of people and roles operating together for purposes of promoting collective/common good

Hard to separate from society, interdependent and interconnected; blurred boundaries.

What is hegemony?

A worldview; “an ideational leadership of society obtained with consent of major social groups.” 3rd Dimension of power—people rule by defining morality/ideas.

   Focus is on elite manipulation of mass belief and ideas

 Use of myths and symbols

   Elites recognize irrational aspects of social life manipulate myths, symbols, ideology to justify their rule

Often based on religion, nationalism, radical ideology

Why pluralists see consensus, managerialism see pressure on masses to conform- through elite control over information, PR, media


How can pop culture help us learn about politics/political sociology?  Is it a viable learning tool?

Pop culture can be used as an educational tool. However, it can misrepresent the  truth if not taught correctly, and portraying certain aspects of sociology through pop culture is oftentimes a stretch
What are theoretical frameworks?
Theoretical frameworks are ways of seeing how the world operates; they provide basic assumptions and key concepts.The three main theoretical frameworks are pluralism, managerial, and class-analysis.
What is pluralism (core ideas, level of analysis)?

Politics are made up of competing interests/groups

First dimension of power

States act as neutral mechanisms that balance and respond to citizen demands (i.e. how democracy holds a society together

Focus: to explain how democracy holds together a diverse society

What are the different dimensions of interest?

Basic Units: Individuals and Interest Groups, autonomous ideas, values, objectives


There are diverse interests in modern society: interests arise from the division of labor and differentiation but held together by a consensus of core values

How does plursism see the nation state?

Gather/balance preferences of citizens and interest groups. 

Provide fair and stable arena for decision-making

Deliver services & resources desired by society

Thus, “state integrates the parts of society”

Does the “state” have “autonomy”? (pluralists: “no”)Little interest among pluralists in idea of state autonomy

“State actors must do what voters & organized organizations want”

How does Plurlism define democracy and citizenship?

Democracy is the major focus of pluralism:

Democratic institutions designed to prevent “demand overload”

Role of Political Parties: channel interests, provide a mechanism formeaningful and useful voting, help provide viable politicalplatforms and programs, helps politics work effectively.

How does Plurism understand power?
(1st Dimension), hegemony (alien concept to pluralists. Instead emphasize: value consensus, public opinion, public interests), and struggle (evidence of a breakdown of normal politics and social control)
What the F*** is managerial framework?

a small elite group will inevitably rule

two variations in the managerial perspective:

Elitist: Elites control government 

Statist: State managers have their own interests 


Elitist: state is a neutral tool

Statist: State has own capacity and autonomy


Autonomy: the ability to make own informed decision



Managerial framework continued (more elitist and statist perspectives)

How does it define democracy and citizenship?

Elitist: real democracy is impractical and inefficient. Citizenship is formal, more than substansive.

Statist: citizenship expanded as part of growing state institutional power and capacity. Extension of citizenship and democracy related to desire to develop among citizens a sense of national unity, identity, purpose.

How does it understand power, hegemony, and struggle?

2nd dimension of power, Elites recognize irrational aspects of social life, manipulate myths, symbols ideology to justify their rule. most focus on inter-elite struggles.

How does Domhoff’s view of class dominance differ from the typical managerial framework?

Power lies in economic and political elites; has great power in both parties and dominates the federal government. 

1. Small upper class= social class and elite networks

2. Corporate community=ownership and control of major organizations. 

3. Policy Planning Network (PPN)= academics 

4. Has great political power in both parties and dominates the federal government.

What are the two different concepts of elites?

Plural Elite

Projects a pluralistic image

Holds that each sector of society has elites

Different elite groups compete and balance one another

Rejects class analysis


Power Elite 

Single, tightly connected, overlapping network with shared interests

Policy planning and Coalitions in US politics

PPN= Policy Planning Network: “Political party” for setting policy agendas for the elite.

Corporate-Conservative: based in upper class and power elite. Real estate and development interests. Connected with conservative groups.

Liberal-Labor: Unions and social reformers. Interested in higher wages, better public welfare/social programs. Wants the rich to pay higher/more taxes than the status quo. Less organized, cohesive, and well-financed.

Intrest groups seek to influence policy


Class Analysis Framework (core values and MOP)

structuralist, emphasis on the systemic forces at work in advanced industrial capitalist societies. Class analysis focuses on society as a whole.

Fundamental aspect of modern society is that it is organized around the capitalist mode of production.

Mode of Production:  How people and organizations produce and exchange goods and services. Forces of production (technology) Relations of production (relation of workers and fop)It produces social classes and cultural values
Class analysis framework continued (nation state, power, hedgemony, struggle, citizenship)
The primary role of the state is to protect capitalism and advance/uphold power and capitalist class. Relative Autonomy. State does have room to maneuver, but cannot violate basic tenets of capitalism or oppose long-term interests of capitalist class. Democracy and citizenship are concessions that workers and their allies have won through struggles.embraces all 3 dimensions of power. More interest in role of hegemony, evident in: individualistic, self-interested orientations and highly commercialized culture. Democracy can act as smokescreen to hide true class power.
What are the 3 models for understanding state autonomy?

Power structure model: state is an instrument or tool used by self-aware, cohesive, and socially-interacting capitalists. 

Structuralist Model: capitalists states prime function is to steer and protect capitalism (as a system)

Class struggle Model: capitalists not all-powerful, and state does not always work to advance capitalism.

Democracy, citizenship and two theories

“a type of collective decision-making, or a process, by which people reach decisions together that apply to all”

Citizenship is the status of a person recognised under the custom or law of a state that bestows on that person (called a citizen ) the rights and privileges of citizenship.

modernization theory: capitalism requires private property rights, free flow of info, personal freedoms, property rights builds foundation of individual political rights and rule of law, encourages civil society, diversity of social/economic interests.political conflict: capitalism generates social and economic inequality.

Nationalism and nation states (4 types)

joining of political organization (the sovereign state) with a distinct cultural community (the nation or people).

liberal market (united states)

Corporatists (Germany)

corporatism defines the state and society relationship in which society is divided into pillars or sections that are officially reorganized by the state

Developmental (japan)

A high capacity relatively autonomous state that can coordinate and direct private industrial expansion to build an internationally competitive economy

Totalitarian (cuba also Nazi Germany) (facist, socialist, communist)


What is a polity? 


What is an institution? 


the people institutions, organizations, processes, rules, beliefs, and symbols that operate together as the politics of a specific nation state. (political parties)

institution is a coherent system or framework of people organizations and ideas that operate together in a patterned, or rule-governed manner across time.

courts and parties (1820-1860)

Patronage and party system (1860-1920)

progressive era expansion (1890- 1920)

 new deal regime (1920-1950)

What are the three forms of inclusion?

1)      Privileged Access: financing political campaigns- buying winners vs. buying access- net effect of a system reliant on private donations- tiny proportion of population (.25%) donates 80% of $

campaign donations affect elections- 1st D. supports winners 2nd D- decides who can be candidate 3rd D- shapes what people know and how they feel

  Policy planning networks- think tanks- connection between policy and politics- they are supposed to be neutral, but they do side with ideologies-

2)      Encouragement- gov’t and non-gov’t programs that target parts of the population and provides incentives to facilitate their participation in the policy- public schooling- Affirmative action

3)        removal of direct barriers (womens suffrage- sexual orientation)

What are the three forms of exclusion?

1)       creating indirect barriers (criminal records and voting rights)

2)      Explicit restrictions- Mass Disenfranchisements of the 1890s- grandfather clause- poll taxes- literacy test- residency requirements- limiting polling places. Anti-immigrant exclusions

3)      Repression= use of organized violence to maintain social order- from genocide to threats of violence. Ex: lynching in the US South- the Red Scare, things eliminated by the Voting Rights Act.

Political Participation

3 factors: deliberate acts designed to influence others 

acts to affirm or deny membership in the polity 

expressions of ideas and beliefs to influence political outcome 3 forms: Instrumental -voting (to achieve a specific goal) Symbolic- bumper stickers communal - fireworks on the fourth of july

4 types of non-participation: active rejection,strategic withdrawal, oblivious disengagement, forced silence

5 overlapping explanations for increased participation rates: civic virtue (how were you socialized) individual resources (do your resources interfere) mobilization (reason that gets you to the polls ) group solidarity (want to belong -be involved) Social networks (do your connections vote)


Voting Behavior and Gerrymandering

3 levels of analysis for understanding voting behavior:

Individual factors: demographic and attitudinal. Rational choice theory: individuals make instrumental decisions about whether to vote or not if they believe that it is likely to make a difference for their immediate personal situation

Structural Factors: ”rule of game” or “machinery of elections” : e.g. things that discourage voting: complex voter registration- “winner take all”- lots of elections- only two big parties

Contextual factors: being engaged civically- being married

gerrymandering: gerrymandering it the practice of drawing election district boundaries in a way that favors one political party or the other. Salt lake city is split into 4 districts to break up concentrations of minorities and democratic voters.

partisanship and pacs/super pacs

Partisanship: attachment to a particular political party. Weak in the U.S.

Pac: political action committes, becomes a super pac which has nom limit on fundraising or donation amount.


Political ideas and beliefs 



Political Symbols: well known symbols with ritualistic power. (eagle, Donkey, Cross)

Civil Religion: a kind of religion of the United States, a faith with sacred symbols drawn from national history. Scholars have portrayed it as a cohesive force, a common set of values that foster social and cultural integration

3 process that affect public opinion: Pluristic ignorance- minority holds opinion. False Consensus- People wrongly believe they are right. Spiral of Silence- Encourages speaking out but diagreeing minority stays silent.

4 types of publics: The general public- don’t know or care

The attentive public- better educated and follow politics

 The elite public- highly political and can affect/shape opinion

The “issues” public- follow only specific issues- education, environment, etc

Cultural Institutions and Education

Primary and Secondary institutions (church, school/?)

Economic Education: Schooling creates a better worker, it is investing in the child. 

3 theories of school: Correspondence- reproduction of middle class

Resistance- its a battleground, resisting operation

Semi Autonomy- Conflict over out of school subjects (PTA stuff like sex ed.) different school reform movements: Progressive 1900-1910/ critical thinking over memorization

 Equity 1960-1970s- inclusiveness and mainstreaming- tied to civil rights movement  

Excellence 1980s-1990s- standardize methods- common core- regulations- “No child left behind”


Cultural Institutions and Media

3 models that explain the effects of mass media: Hypodermic needle- media is injected, no choice

Resonance model- pick and listen to what resonates with you

Competition model- contradictory messages- e.g. attack ads

Integrated view- media messages provide knowledge , draw attention to some issues (not others), prime the audience/shape their evaluation, strongest when “personally relevant, repeated, congruent”

Agenda Setting: ability of the news media to influence the importance of topics on the public agenda.

Priming: mass media shapes news into a climate of fear

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