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MASS POLITICS IN ADVANCED INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACIES

Level
Semester
Units
4
Number
263
CCN
72131
Course Description
This seminar provides an overview of theories and evidence concerning
political conflict in advanced industrial societies. The principal
empirical focus is on mass politics: the beliefs, attitudes and
behaviors of ordinary citizens rather than of activists or elites. The
principal theoretical focus is on how changes in social structure,
culture, and political institutions influence patterns of political
cleavages. The analysis is largely comparative, with special attention
to the issue of American exceptionalism versus cultural and policy
convergence.

* The course is organized in a quasi-historical form: it
traces the history of explanatory approaches and their revision as
concepts and theories grappled with empirical reality. It begins with
an analysis of the alleged demise of class politics. We then turn to
competing paradigms such as status politics, post-materialism, and
identity politics. These hypotheses regarding the sources of mass
political behavior are applied to the issues of ethnic conflict,
immigration, multiculturalism, nationalism and legitimation. Underlying
themes are the problem of democratic governance and the extent to which
demographic, social, and economic changes are producing a convergence in
modern systems of governance and the extent to which cultural
distinctiveness and national traditions hold sway.*