Graduate School for Social Research
Theories of Social Differentiation and Social Change
Instructors: Prof. Dr. hab. Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, Dr. Joshua K. Dubrow, and
Dr. Irina Tomescu-Dubrow
Place: Graduate School for Social Research, Palac Staszic, Nowy Swiat 72, 00-330 Warsaw, Room 242
Time: Wednesdays, 12:30 – 14:30
Course Website: theoriesofsocialchange.wordpress.com/
This course is designed to cover the major theoretical traditions of studying social differentiation and of social change. We take an interdisciplinary approach focusing on sociology, political science, psychology, and economy, among others, to identify the dominant paradigms, examine various sub-theories of each, and contrast perspectives with one another. To guide students’ understanding and use of theory, we will examine historical and contemporary issues in social differentiation dealing primarily with macro-determinants of social inequality. Through its focus on comparison and synthesis, this course should heighten students’ ability to critically evaluate contemporary theories of social change, and to build them into their own research.
This course relies heavily on in-class discussions of key issues in theories of social change. This format responds to one of the main tasks of professional sociologists, that is, to actively engage in theoretical debates with colleagues. We expect discussions to be professional and engaged. Students are encouraged to push arguments; not accept logically inconsistent points as “equally valid perspectives;” integrate alternative perspectives and understand the basic assumptions that drive different conclusions.
Basic outline of the course:
1. The Epistemology of Social Science. Basic Issues in Theories of Social Differentiation and Social Change
2. Directions of Change: Lines, Cycles, Stages and Branches
3. Social Mobility, Industrialization and Convergence
4. Mechanisms of Social Differentiation and Social Change:
(a) Functionalist vs. Conflict Theories
(b) Positivist and Idealist Theories
(c) Exogenous vs. Endogenous Change. Historicism and Counterfactuals
(c) Social Movement Theories
(d) World Systems Theories
(e) Revolution Theories
5. Globalization and Transnationalism
* We thank Edward Crenshaw, Professor of Sociology, The Ohio State University, for his valuable insights in setting up the structure of this course.
Course Requirements and Evaluation:
Discussion papers (35%: 5% each): Students are to write seven short papers (1.5 – 2 pages, double spaced) with preset questions based on the readings. The purpose is to intellectually engage the student in the topic of the day. Discussion papers are due on the day of the lecture. On the second class period, students will have the opportunity to sign-up for the dates/topics they will write the discussion papers on.
Term paper (45%): This final paper (7-12 pages, double spaced) can take one of three forms: (1) A book review of a theoretically driven work on social differentiation and social change; (2) a review of three or more articles on a substantively similar theoretical problem in social differentiation and social change from high quality peer-reviewed academic journals; or (3) an original work of the student that uses theories of social differentiation and social change in preparation of dissertation or journal publication.
Class participation (20%): Students are expected to discuss all of the assigned readings on the due date and to participate in in-class discussions and projects. Each week, two students will be designated asdiscussion leaders, whose job is to provide a short summary of the required readings and at least one debatable issue stemming from these readings. These are not written assignments (i.e., they do not have to be submitted in written form), but the oral presentation must reflect the discussion leaders’ scrupulous preparation based on the readings.
Policies on Attendance, Late Materials, and Make-Ups
We expect everyone to show up to class on time. During class, cell phones and other electronic devices with noise-capacity must be turned off. We will make exceptions to this rule if you explain why you need them turned on during class. You must inform us of this reason before class begins.
Please remember to be courteous and polite to one another during heated discussions. We will be with each other for four months and we all need a healthy and comfortable classroom environment to learn and discuss issues.
Assignments are to be turned in electronically, via email (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org) by the specified deadline. We accept late materials only if we are notified 24 hours prior to the deadline. Late writing assignments will be assessed a penalty of 10% off per day.
For emailed assignments: it is the responsibility of the student to be sure that the instructor receives it.
Detailed Course Outline and Course Readings
Course readings are available at the library of the Graduate School for Social Research. Readings marked with an “R” are REQUIRED, or mandatory readings. Those with “OP” are optional or non-mandatory readings. Students are expected to have read at least the REQUIRED readings on the date they are assigned.
The Epistemology of Social Science
Basic Issues in Theories of Social Differentiation and Social Change
OP – Sztompka, Piotr. 1994. The Sociology of Social Change. Oxford: Blackwell (Chapters 1 and 2).
OP – Merton, Robert K. 1957. Social Theory and Social Structure. Glencoe, IL: Free Press, pp. 85-117.
OP — Fritz Machlup. 1994. “Are the Social Sciences Really Inferior?” Pp. 5-19 in Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science, edited by Michael Martin and Lee C. McIntyre. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Social Mobility, Industrialization and Convergence
R – Treiman, Donald J. 1970. “Industrialization and Social Stratification.” Sociological Inquiry40 (2): 207-234
R – Domanski, Henryk. 2000. On the Verge of Convergence: Social Stratification in Eastern Europe. Budapest: Central European University Press. Selected chapters.
OP — Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, Krystyna Janicka, Goldie Shabad, and Irina Tomescu-Dubrow. 2007. “Changes in Class Structure in Poland, 1988-2003: Crystallization of the Winners–Losers’ Divide” Polish Sociological Review 1(157): 45-64.
OP – Firebaugh, Glenn. 2000. “The Trend in Between-Nation Income Inequality.” Annual Review of Sociology 26: 323-339.
Directions of Change: Lines, Cycles, Stages and Branches: Preindustrial to Industrial Society
R – Lenski, Gerhard. 1966. Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratification. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Chapters 1 and 3.
R – Diamond, Jared. 1999. “A Natural Experiment of History,” pp. 53 – 66 in Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
OP – Sanderson, Stephen K. and Arthur S. Alderson. 2005. Chapters 3 – 4, pp. 32 – 81 in World Societies: The Evolution of Human Social Life.
OP – Luhmann, Niklas. 1990. “The Paradox of System Differentiation and the Evolution of Society.” Pp. 409-440 in Differentiation Theory and Social Change: Comparative and Historical Perspectives, edited by Jeffrey C. Alexander and Paul Colomy, New York: Columbia University.
OP – Eisenstadt, Shmuel. 1964. “Social Change, Differentiation, and Evolution.” American Sociological Review 29 (3): 373-386.
Social Change and The Role of Elites: Central and Eastern Europe
R – National and European? Polish Political Elite in Comparative Perspective, edited by Włodzimierz Wesołowski, Kazimierz M. Słomczyński, and Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow. Warsaw: IFiS Publishers. (Introduction)
R – Higley, John. 2008. “Elite Theory in Political Sociology.” Paper presented at International Political Science Association annual meeting, Montreal, Canada.
R — Eyal et al. 2000. “Making Capitalism without Capitalists” in Social Stratification: Class, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective, edited by David B. Grusky. CO: Westview Press.
OP – Szelenyi, Ivan and Szonja Szelenyi. 1995. “Circulation or Reproduction of Elites during the Postcommunist Transformation of Eastern Europe.” Theory and Society 24(5).
Mechanisms of Social Differentiation and Social Change: Functionalist vs. Conflict Theories
R Davis, Kingsley and Wilbert Moore. 1945. “Some Principles of Stratification.” American Sociological Review 10(2): 242-249.
R – Tumin, Melvin. 1953. “Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis.” American Sociological Review18(4): 387-394.
R – Davis, Kinglsey. 1953. “Reply: Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis.” American Sociological Review18(4): 394-397.
R – Moore, Wilbert. 1953. “Comment: Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis.” American Sociological Review 18(4): 397. (yes, it is only two paragraphs long)
OP – Hauhart, Robert C. 2003. “The Davis-Moore Theory of Stratification: The Life Course of a Socially Constructed Classic.” The American Sociologist34(4): 5-24.
Mechanisms of Social Differentiation and Social Change: Positivist & Idealist Theories
R – Boudon, Raymond. 1984. Theories of Social Change: A Critical Appraisal. Cambridge: Polity Press (selected chapters).
R – Sztompka, Piotr. 1994. The Sociology of Social Change. Oxford: Blackwell (Chapter 11 & 16).
R – Inglehart, Ronald. Modernization and Postmodernization. Princeton: Priceton Univerity Press (Chapters 1 and 2).OP – Huntington, Samuel. 1993. “A Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs72: 22-49.
Endogenous and Exogenous Change. Historicism and Counterfactuals
R – Goldhorpe, John H. 2007. On Sociology. Volume One. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press (Chapter 2).
R – Sztompka, Piotr. 1994. The Sociology of Social Change. Oxford: Blackwell (Chapters 10; 12-15, 18).
Mechanisms of Social Change: Social Movement
R Piven, Frances Fox and Richard A. Cloward. 2005. “Rule Making, Rule Breaking, and Power.” Pp. 33 – 53 in The Handbook of Political Sociology: States, Civil Societies, and Globalizationedited by Thomas Janoski, Robert Alford, Alexander Hicks, and Mildred A. Schwartz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
R – Jenkins, J. Craig and William Form. 2005. “Social Movements and Social Change,” pp. 331 – 349 in The Handbook of Political Sociology: States, Civil Societies and Globalization, edited by Thomas Janoski, Robert Alford, Alexander Hicks and Mildred A. Schwartz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.OP – Sztompka, Piotr. 1994. The Sociology of Social Change. Oxford: Blackwell (Chapter 19).
Mechanisms of Social Change: World Systems Theories
R – Chase-Dunn, Christopher and Peter Grimes. 1995. “World Systems Analysis.” Annual Review of Sociology21: 387 – 417.
R – Sanderson, Stephen K. 2005. “World Systems Analysis after Thirty Years: Should It Rest in Peace?” International Journal of Comparative Sociology46(3): 179-213.
Mechanisms of Social Differentiation and Social Change: Revolution Theories, Part I
R – Sztompka, Piotr. 1994. The Sociology of Social Change. Oxford: Blackwell (Chapter 20).
R – Sanderson, Stephen K. 2005. Revolutions. A Worldwide Introduction to Political and Social ChangeParadigm Publishers (Chapter 1; 2)
Mechanisms of Social Differentiation and Social Change: Revolution Theories, Part II
R – Sanderson, Stephen K. 2005. Revolutions. A Worldwide Introduction to Political and Social ChangeParadigm Publishers (Chapter 3; 4; 5)
OP – Skocpol, Theda. 1979. States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 1.
Globalization and Transnationalism,
R – IMF Staff. 2008. Globalization: A Brief Overviewhttp://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/ib/2008/053008.htm
R – Goldhorpe, John H. 2007. On Sociology. Volume One. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press (Chapter 5).
R – Meyer, John W, John Boli, Gorge M. Thomas, and Francisco O. Ramirez. 2008. “World Society and the Nation-State.” Pp. 359-368 in Transnational Studies: Reader, edited by Sanjeev Khagram and Peggy Levitt. New York: Routledge.
Globalization and Transnationalism,
Conclusion of the Course
R – Portes, Alejandro, Luis Eduardo Guarnizo, and Patricia Landolt. 2008. “The Study of Transnationalism: Pitfalls and Promise of an Emergent Research Field.” Pp. 275-283 in Transnational Studies: Reader, edited by Sanjeev Khagram and Peggy Levitt. New York: Routledge.
R – Coleman, James, S. 1990. Foundation of Social Theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (Chapter 1: Metatheory: Explanation in Social Science, pp. 1-23.