The seminar, “The Study of Politics and Inequality” is part of the OPUS 12 grant funded by Poland’s National Science Centre, “Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time” (2016/23/B/HS6/03916) for the period 2017 -2020.


The seminar centers on (a) the connection between politics and inequality across nations and time and, to add to graduate student training, (b) moving from ideas to manageable research projects, and publishing, in the social sciences.

In the first hour of the seminar:

(a) The main substantive concept we will explore is political inequality, defined as structured differences in influence over political decisions, and the outcomes of those decisions. Major questions in the field are: What is political inequality and what causes it? How do we measure political inequality? Is political inequality rising, falling or staying the same? How does political inequality interact with other inequalities? How does social and political change impact political inequality? What are the consequences of political inequality on people, societies and social structures? As a dimension of both democracy and stratification, political inequality is an inherently interdisciplinary subject. We will read materials from the disciplines of political science, sociology, economics, law & policy, gender studies, and others. We will critically examine main readings in political inequality and associated topics and fields, including power, democracy, economic inequality, political participation, representation, gender politics, class voting, intersectionality, and more. We will explore issues in conceptualization, theory, and measurement, and various methodologies used to empirically examine the various manifestations of the phenomenon.

In the second hour of the seminar:

(b) This seminar will also instruct graduate students on how to turn their research ideas into high quality research products, including dissertation proposal, conference presentations, proposal for grants, awards and fellowships, or a journal article. This course discusses best practices for: (i) Developing ideas into manageable research projects; (ii) Developing research questions that generate interest and answer the question of “So What?”; (iii) Framing research questions, problem statements and results to specific types of audiences; (iv) Finding and completing funding, award and fellowship applications; (v) Sending an article to academic journals for publication consideration and managing the peer review process.

Seminar locations and events:

November 2, 2017: Lecture at the Graduate School for Social Research, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Room 158. “Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time: Project Overview.” POLAND

February – June 2018: Lecture series, University of Bucharest, Schitu Magureanu 9, from 18:00 – 20:00, Council Room. ROMANIA

Topics and Readings

The seminar works like this: Each “Meeting” is for two hours. For example, Meeting 1a is the first hour of the seminar and Meeting 1b is the second hour of the seminar. You are expected to read the articles for Meeting 1a and Meeting 1b.

Meeting 1a: Basics of inequality and definitions of political inequality

Dubrow, Joshua Kjerulf (ed.). 2015. Political Inequality in an Age of Democracy: Cross-national Perspectives. London: Routledge. Chapter 1, “The Concept and Study of Political Inequality.”

Manza, Jeff. 2015. “Political Inequality”

Meeting 1b: Basics of developing ideas into research products

Burawoy, Michael. 2005. “Combat in the Dissertation Zone.”

Meeting 2a: How can we measure political inequality?

Gilens and Page. 2014. ” Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.” Perspectives on Politics.

Meeting 2b: Doing original research that generates interest and answers the question of, “So What?”

Guetzkow, Joshua, Michèle Lamont and Grégoire Mallard. 2004. “What Is Originality in the Humanities and the Social Sciences?American Sociological Review 69(2): 190-212.

Davis, Murray S. 1971. “That’s Interesting! Towards a Phenomenology of Sociology and Sociology of Phenomenology.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 1(4)

Meeting 3a: Theories and evidence of the link between economic inequality and political voice, part 1

Freeman, Dena. 2017. “De-Democratisation and Rising Inequality: The Underlying Cause of a Worrying Trend.” LSE Working Paper

Sofie Marien, Marc Hooghe, and Ellen Quintelier. 2010. “Inequalities in Non-Institutionalized Forms of Political Participation. A Multilevel Analysis for 25 countries.” Political Studies, 58(1), 2010, pp. 187-213.

Meeting 3b: Structure of an empirical research article

Thunder, David. 2004. “Back to Basics: Twelve Rules for Writing a Publishable Article.” PS: Political Science and Politics 37(3): 493-5.

The structure of an empirical research article, prepared by Josh Dubrow

Meeting 4a: Theories and evidence of the link between economic inequality and political voice, part 2

Solt, Frederick. 2008. “Economic Inequality and Democratic Political Engagement.” American Journal of Political Science, 52(1): 48–60.

Karakoc, Ekrem. 2013. “Economic Inequality and Its Asymmetric Effect on Civic Engagement: Evidence from Post-Communist Countries.” European Political Science Review 5(2): 197–223.

Meeting 4b: Publishing as a graduate student and the peer review process

Rich, Timothy S. 2013. “Publishing as a Graduate Student: A Quick and (Hopefully) Painless Guide to Establishing Yourself as a Scholar.” PS: Political Science and Politics April: 376 – 379.

Miller et al. 2013. “How to Be a Peer Reviewer: A Guide for Recent and Soon-to-Be PhDs.” PS: Political Science and Politics January: 120 – 123.

Meeting 5a: Gender and political representation

Readings TBA

Meeting 5b: Grant finding and grant writing

Przeworski, Adam and Frank Salomon. 1995. On the Art of Writing Proposals: Some Candid Suggestions for Applicants to Social Science Research Council Competitions. SSRC.

Henson, Kenneth T. 2003. “Debunking Some Myths about Grant Writing.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 26.

Moffat, Anne Simon. 1994. “Grantsmanship: what makes proposals work?” Science 265 (September 23).

Meeting 6a: New directions in politics and inequality

Readings TBA

Meeting 6b: CV as presentation of self; Digital presence and popularization

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