Reading list: political sociology

Lane Kenworthy
University of California, San Diego


Public opinion

  • Achen, Christopher and Larry M. Bartels. 2016. Democracy for Realists. Princeton University Press.
  • Alesina, Alberto and Edward L. Glaeser. 2004. Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe. Oxford University Press. Chapters 6-7.
  • Bartels, Larry M. 2016. Unequal Democracy. 2nd edition. Russell Sage Foundation and Princeton University Press. Chapters 5-6.
  • Burstein, Paul. 2014. American Public Opinion, Advocacy, and Policy in Congress: What the Public Wants and What it Gets. Cambridge University Press. Chapters 1-3.
  • Pierson, Paul. 1996. “The New Politics of the Welfare State.” World Politics 48: 143-179.
  • Manza, Jeff, Clem Brooks and Michael Sauder. 2005. “Money, Participation, and Votes: Social Cleavages and Electoral Politics.” Pp. 201-226 in Handbook of Political Sociology, edited by Thomas Janowski et al. Cambridge University Press.
  • Schlozman, Kay Lehman, Henry E. Brady, and Sidney Verba. 2018. Unequal and Unrepresented. Princeton University Press.
  • Walker, Edward T., Michael McQuarrie, and Caroline W. Lee. 2015. “Rising Participation and Declining Democracy.” Pp. 3-23 in Democratizing Inequalities: Dilemmas of the New Public Participation, edited by Caroline W. Lee, Michael McQuarrie, Edward T. Walker. New York University Press.

Political parties

  • Grossman, Matt. 2019. Red State Blues: How the Conservative Revolution Stalled in the States. Cambridge University Press.
  • Huber, Evelyn and John Stephens. 2001. Development and Crisis of the Welfare State. University of Chicago Press. Chapters 1-4, 6-8.
  • Prasad, Monica. 2018. Starving the Beast: Ronald Reagan and the Tax Cut Revolution. Russell Sage Foundation.

Organized interest groups

  • Burstein, Paul. 2014. American Public Opinion, Advocacy, and Policy in Congress: What the Public Wants and What it Gets. Cambridge University Press. Chapters 4-7.
  • Domhoff, G. William. 2014. Who Rules America? 7th edition. McGraw Hill.
  • Hacker, Jacob S. and Paul Pierson. 2010. Winner-Take-All Politics. Simon and Schuster.

Social movements

  • Martin, Isaac William. 2008. The Permanent Tax Revolt: How the Property Tax Transformed American Politics. Stanford University Press.
  • Quadagno, Jill. 1992. “Social Movements and State Transformation: Labor Unions and Racial Conflict in the War on Poverty.” American Sociological Review 57: 616-34.

The economy

  • Block, Fred. 1977. “The Ruling Class Does not Rule: Notes on the Marxist Theory of the State.” Socialist Revolution 33: 6-28.
  • Brady, David, Jason Beckfield, and Martin Seeleib-Kaiser. 2005. “Economic Globalization and the Welfare State in Affluent Democracies, 1975-2001.” American Sociological Review 70: 921-948.
  • Estevez-Abe, Margarita, Torben Iversen, and David Soskice. 2001. “Social Protection and the Formation of Skills: A Reinterpretation of the Welfare State.” Pp. 145-183 in Varieties of Capitalism, edited by Peter A. Hall and David Soskice. Oxford University Press.
  • Kelly, Nathan J. and Peter K. Enns. 2013. “Inequality and the Dynamics of Public Opinion: The Self-Reinforcing Link Between Economic Inequality and Mass Preferences.” American Journal of Political Science 54: 855-870.


  • Ferguson, Thomas, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen. 2017. “Fifty Shades of Green: High Finance, Political Money, and the U.S. Congress.” Roosevelt Institute.
  • Gilens, Martin. 2012. Affluence and Influence. Princeton University Press.
  • Gilens, Martin and Benjamin I. Page. 2014. “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.” Perspectives on Politics 12: 564-581.

Government structure, government actors

  • Alesina, Alberto and Edward L. Glaeser. 2004. Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe. Oxford University Press. Chapter 4.
  • Amenta, Edwin, Neil Caren, and Sheera Joy Olasky. 2005. “Age for Leisure? Political Mediation and the Impact of the Pension Movement on U.S. Old Age Policy.” American Sociological Review 70: 516-539.
  • Heclo, Hugh. 1974. “Social Policy and Political Learning.” Pp. 284-322 in Modern Social Politics in Britain and Sweden. Yale University Press.
  • Iversen, Torben and David Soskice. 2006. “Electoral Institutions and the Politics of Coalitions: Why Some Democracies Redistribute More Than Others.” American Political Science Review 100: 165-181.
  • Pedriana, Nicholas and Robin Stryker. 2004. “The Strength of a Weak Agency: Early Enforcement of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Expansion of State Capacity, 1965-1971.” American Journal of Sociology 110: 709-760.
  • Rothstein, Bo, Marcus Sammani, and Jan Teorell. 2012. “Explaining the Welfare State: Power Resources vs. the Quality of Government.” European Political Science Review 4: 1-28.
  • Skrentny, John D. 2006. “Law and the American State.” Annual Review of Sociology 32: 213-244.
  • Streeck, Wolfgang and Lane Kenworthy. 2005. “Theories and Practices of Neo-Corporatism.” Pp. 441-460 in Handbook of Political Sociology, edited by Thomas Janoski et al. Cambridge University Press.
  • Weir, Margaret, Ann Shola Orloff, and Theda Skocpol. 1988. “Understanding American Social Politics.” Pp. 3-27 in The Politics of Social Policy in the United States.¬†Princeton University Press.

Ideas, culture

  • Hall, Peter A. 1989. “The Politics of Keynesian Ideas.” Pp. 361-391 in The Political Power of Economic Ideas: Keynesianism Across Nations, edited by Peter A. Hall. Princeton University Press.
  • Steensland, Brian. 2006. “Cultural Categories and the American Welfare State: The Case of Guaranteed Income Policy.” American Journal of Sociology 111: 1273-1326.