Advanced Introduction to Theories in the Social Sciences I. Theories in Institutional Change and Stability

Periodo di svolgimento
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Info sul corso
Ore del corso
20
Ore dei docenti responsabili
20
Ore di didattica integrativa
0
CFU 3
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Modalità esame

Prova scritta e orale

Prerequisiti

Compulsory for the 1st year students of the PhD Programme in "Political Science and Sociology"

Compulsory for the 1st year students of the PhD Programme in "Transnational Governance"

Optional for the 4th and 5th year students of the MA Programme in "Political and Social Sciences"

Programma

Overview 

 Questions of policy and institutional change have long occupied political scientists and sociologists. The purpose of this course is to examine several explanations of change in the social sciences with particular attention to the mechanisms through which policies and institutions evolve over time. Classes are loosely organized around the three main strands of institutional analysis, namely rational choice institutionalism, historical, and sociological institutionalism. In addition, we will use scholarship on contemporary puzzles to examine how and the extent to which these alternative theories can be combined to provide thorough accounts of policy and institutional change.

 

Course format

 The course is articulated into eight seminars according to the timetable provided below. For each of the meeting, students are required to adopt a pro-active stance based on the reading of all the articles in the reading list. In particular, students are invited to discuss and reflect on the core theoretical assumptions that underpin distinct theories of (and approaches to) institutional change as well as on the relative strengths and weaknesses of each theory with respect to their empirical applications. Further details on class format and expectations will be provided during the first meeting. 

Obiettivi formativi

Objectives

 At the end of the course, students are expected to be able to identify the assumptions and expectations that characterize distinct theoretical strands in political science research. One major objective of the course is to help students in the organization of their theses' literature review, by reflecting on the modalities through which literature reviews can be organized and with what purposes for the empirical analysis. 

 

Assessment

Final grades will reflect participation and performance in seminar discussions as well as written work.

 PhD students:

(1) Class participation (50%): Participation grade will take into account the quality of contribution to discussions as well as the intensity and engagement in collective reflections.

(2) Presentation (25%): Final grade will take into account the quality of the class presentation of the assigned readings, in terms of clarity and critical engagement 

(3) Essay (25%): Each student will be required to write a short memo (3,500 words) that attempts ‘positioning’ the PhD thesis project in the relevant literatures. Further details will be provided at the beginning of the course. 

Doctoral students who opt to write a term paper for this course must consult the instructor in advance and agree on a topic. 

Master students:

(1) Class participation (50%): Participation grade will take into account the quality of contribution to discussions as well as the intensity and engagement in collective reflections.

(2) Presentation (25%): Final grade will take into account the quality of the class presentation of the assigned readings, in terms of clarity and critical engagement 

(3) Essay (25%): Each student will be required to write a critical memo (2,500 words) on one of the topics covered during the course. Further details will be provided at the beginning of the course.