SOS9023 – Macro-qualitative comparisons and varieties of capitalism. Historical and present cases in Scandinavia, Europe and Asia
This course shuttles between sociology/political science debates on the analysis of contemporary capitalism and selected macro-cases.
It starts from the approach that was sketched by Stein Rokkan in the 1970s. This approach starts from a list of features that distinguish world geo-cultural regions. For the European region, Rokkan proceeded the sketch a regional grid (“Model of Europe”) that served as a periodized and typologized list of variables and a set of outcomes. The variables list had two parts: preconditions and intervening process variables, the latter being features of the industrial and democratic revolutions in the European area since the late 18th century. The outcomes were related to the advent of mass politics (universal suffrage, parliamentary rule, freedom of mobilization, etc.). Rokkan used the regional grid as a typology-generator, and we show how he derived his main typological-topological map of various European state-building areas from that grid. Here he developed a methodology of accounting schemes and paired comparisons. We show how Rokkan’s total set of methodological tools involves an innovative approach to the combination of contextualization and process-tracing, thus addressing a major topic in contemporary debates in historical, comparative sociology.
Next, we introduce a main recent topic in political economy: the study of “varieties of capitalism”. In Rokkan’s terms, this would imply the introduction of a new outcome module into his model of Europe, making the present state of one of his “intervening process variables” (the unfolding of the industrial revolution) the goal of explanation. Making this move, we rely on the work of Polanyi and Perez to make a number of necessary revisions to Rokkan’s model.
On the last three days of the course, we discuss specifications and extensions of Rokkan’s approach, with reference primarily to varieties of capitalism, but in some cases also with reference to Rokkan’s original topic of democratization.
On Tuesday, we study the Nordic countries as cases of socio-economic development into cases of the social democratic type of political economy/welfare state. Certain extensions to Eastern and Central Europe after the end of the Cold War will also be briefly dealt with.
On Wednesday, we deal with the state system of the Middle East, demonstrating how Rokkan’s approach to regional grids as a tool for typology construction can be applied also to a geo-cultural region wholly different from the one studied by Rokkan himself (who only studied 16 Western European cases).
On Thursday, we look at the single largest and most important case in the present day world economy, the case of China, discussing a possible Rokkan-inspired approach in the light of recent approaches in macro political economy (Anderson’s comparative historical approach, Fligstein’s “theory of fields” approach, and Aglietta’s regulation theory approach).
On each of these three days, the afternoon session will by devoted to seminar discussions of participating students/researchers’ projects on topics, particularly those that deal with topics from the regions covered, but even other regions, if necessary. If there are few projects to discuss, the time may alternatively be used to expand on topics in the lectures.
The course surveys this debate, and also includes a seminar – introduced and led by Ådne Cappelen – in which the various modelling approaches and styles of data analysis are discussed.
On the last three days of the course, we investigate whether Stein Rokkan’s macro-comparative methodology can be a useful supplement to the styles of research implied in the PRT/VOC-debate (sociological power theory in PRT, economic modelling in VOC, and statistical regressions in both). We focus both on its capacity for process-tracing and for contextualization. Each day deals with a new selection of large cases.
First, we study the Nordic countries as cases of socio-economic development into cases of the social democratic type of political economy/welfare state. Certain extensions to Eastern and Central Europe after the end of the Cold War will also be briefly dealt with.
Second, we deal with the state system of the Middle East, demonstrating how Rokkan’s approach to regional grids as a tool for typology construction can be applied also to a geocultural region wholly different from the one studied by Rokkan himself (who only studied 16 Western European cases).
Third, we look at the single largest and most important case in the present day world economy, the case of China, trying out both PRT, VOC and Rokkan-inspired approaches.
On each of these three days, the afternoon session will by devoted to seminar discussions of participating students/researchers’ projects on topics, particularly those that deal with topics from the regions covered, but even other regions, if necessary.
This course is aimed at doctoral students and researchers in the social sciences who work with large cases, whether with a quantitative or a qualitative approach. It may also be relevant for scholars working closer to the humanities, particularly in the various segments of area studies, since the course, in addition to the Nordic area, also will discuss cases from the Middle East and Asia. The course may more generally be useful for doctoral students/researchers who work on quite specific research topics, but need to give a thick account of the context(s) of the processes they study. The relationship between contextualization and process-tracing will be a main topic throughout the course. Apart from standard knowledge of quantitative and qualitative methods, prior knowledge of any specific techniques is not required.
PhD students at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography register for the course in StudentWeb. For PhD students at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography course participants obtain "method" points.
Interested participants outside the Department of Sociology and Human Geography shall fill out this application form.
The application deadline is 1st May 2015.
Course schedule and readings
DAY 1: Monday 1st June
12.15-14 – Rokkan’s macrohistorical program
Mjøset, Lars ”Rokkan’s macrocomparative methodology” (prel title), Strasbourg ISA/RC20-meeting, arranged by Jean Pascal Daloz, March 2014. (Will be published in International Journal of Comparative Sociology.) (Extended version, ca 50 p)
14.15-15 – A Rokkan approach to Varieties of capitalism
Iversen, Torben & David Soskice. 2013. “An structural-institutional explanation of the Eurozone crisis.” Unpublished paper. Harvard University (15 p). (pdf will be provided)
Polanyi, Karl, 1944. The Great Transformation. Boston: Beacon 1956, Ch. 3-6, 10, 17-18 (80 p) (Can also be read in the Norwegian translation, Polanyi, Den liberal utopi, Oslo 2012).
Perez, Carlota (2009) Technological revolutions and techno-economic paradigms, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 34, No.1, pp. 185-202 (17 p)
Mjøset, Lars (2015). A Varieties Approach to the Varieties of Capitalism. To be published in Sean O’Riain et. al. (editors), The Changing Worlds and Workplaces of Capitalism, London: Routledge. (25 p)
DAY 2: Tuesday 2nd June
10.15-12 – Extending the Rokkan approach (1): The Nordic and Baltic countries
Rokkan, Stein 1981. The Growth and Structuring of Mass Politics, in E. Allardt et al, editors, Nordic Democracy, Copenhagen: Det Danske Selskab. (53-79) (26 s) (Norwegian version available in Rokkan, Stat, nasjon, klasse, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget 1987, Kap 9, s. 239-264) (pdf will be provided)
Mjøset, Lars (2014/15 forthcoming) ”The Nordic Route to Development”, to be published in Jayati Ghosh, Rainer Kattel & Erik Reinert, editors, Elgar Handbook of Alternative Theories of Economic Development, Cheltenham: E. Elgar. (Extended version, ca 50 p) (pdf will be provided)
Aarebrot, F. & S. Berglund 1995. Statehood, secularization, co-optation: Explaining democratic survival in inter-war Europe. Historical Social Research, 20:2. 210-225 (online: http://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/bitstream/handle/document/3247/ ssoar-hsr- 1995-no_2__no_74-aarebrot_et_al-statehood.pdf?sequence=1) (15 p)
Seminar on projects relating to this region
DAY 3: Wednesday 3rd June
10.15-12 – Extending the Rokkan approach (2): The Middle East
Rokkan, S. 1975. Dimensions of state formation and nation-building. Pp 601-638 in C. Tilly, ed. The Formation of National States in Western Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (37 p) (Can also be read in the Norwegian translation, Rokkan, Stat, nasjon, klasse, Oslo 1987, Ch. 11.)
Zghal, A. 1973. Nation-building in the Maghreb. Ch 11, pp. 322-340 in S. N. Eisenstadt & S. Rokkan, Building States and Nations, London: Sage.
Mjøset, L., N. Butenschøn, K. Berg Harpviken, 2012. USA og det utvidede Midtøsten – et hovedspenningsfelt i verdenspolitikken, Vardøger, 33, 2012, 120-182. [In the case there are non-Norwegian speaking participants, a draft translation into English will be provided.] (Will be made available in pdf) (62 p)
Seminar on projects relating to this region
DAY 4: Thursday 4th June
10.15-12 - Extending the Rokkan approach (3): China
Anderson, Perry (2010). Two revolutions. New Left Review 61, January-February, 59-98. (39 p) (Online)
Neil Fligstein & Jianjun Zhang, A New Agenda for Research on the Trajectory of Chinese Capitalism, Management and Organization Review 7:1 39–62 (23 p)
Michel Aglietta & Guo Bal, China’s development. Capitalism and empire. London: Routledge 2013, Ch 1-2, 11-68 (57 p)
McNally, Christopher A. (2012), Sino-capitalism: China’s reemergence and the international political economy. World politics 64:4, 741-776 (35 s) (Online)
Seminar on projects relating to this region
Total readings, ca 460 pages
Lars Mjøset is professor of sociology at UiO.
Ådne Cappelen is a senior researcher at Statistics Norway.
Participants obtain 6 ECTS credits by completing the course requirements, which are active participation in the course, submission of a paper and presentation of research proposal.
The deadline for submitting a text (1-3 pages) prior the course is 18th May. Deadline submitting the paper after the course is 10th August 2015.
Both texts are to be sent to email@example.com.
Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.