PSCI 240
Political Theory and Comparative Politics Spring 2024
Division II
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Class Details

We live in a society that takes liberalism and capitalism for granted, as the norm that naturally centers collective life. This course draws on foundational thinkers in political theory and comparative politics to explore that premise. To that end, the course will discuss the origins, logic, and meaning of liberalism and capitalism and the relationships between them. Asking whether liberal thought, to borrow the famous joke about economists, assumes the can openers of liberalism and capitalism, taking as given that which is constructed historically, the course will look at leading theories about the role states play in constituting and maintaining capitalist economies, the definition and nature of power in liberal societies, and, more recently, the connection between identities, politics, classes, and states. The readings include Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Karl Polanyi, Barrington Moore, Robert Putnam, Michel Foucault, and Edward Said.
The Class: Format: seminar; discussion
Limit: 25
Expected: 15
Class#: 3693
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three papers
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Political Science & Political Economy majors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: PSCI Comparative Politics Courses
PSCI Political Theory Courses

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