AIS4045 - Political Sociology

Offering Academic Unit
Department of Asian and International Studies
Credit Units
Course Duration
One Semester
Equivalent Course(s)
Course Offering Term*:
Not offering in current academic year

* The offering term is subject to change without prior notice
Course Aims

This course aims to understand the complexities of the contemporary global political order. In Part I, we examine the concept and the history of the state. What kinds of political structures are in place in societies without state bureaucracies? How did colonialism and industrial capitalism transform the power geometries of world politics? Do rituals and symbols still matter to modern nation-states? Is nationalism a social disorder or a source of social solidarity? In Part II, we turn to the topics of domination and resistance. Under what conditions do citizens engage in mass movements of civil disobedience? What may be the limits to the concept of civil society in catching the diverse forms of resistance? How do everyday practices challenge or reproduce existing power structure without actively engaging with or explicitly resisting to the state? In Part III, we investigate the seemingly apolitical practices and experiences that (re)produce power structures and provide political legitimacy. Why do Malagasy cows speak French? In what way is our perception of money shaped by power relationships and social structure? How are charity organizations complicit with capitalisim in reproducing social inequality? Do artefacts have politics? What are the main characteristics of contemporary forms of technocratic government?

This course focuses less on formal political structures and movements and more on the diverse ways and forms in which power travels through different socio-cultural contexts. In doing so, students will be exposed to various theoretical frameworks and thinkers, including Marxism, STS, Weber, Foucault and others, with specific case studies.

Assessment (Indicative only, please check the detailed course information)

Continuous Assessment: 100%
Detailed Course Information


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Department of Asian and International Studies