L.A. Pierce College

 Political Science 37, Spring 2009

Ms. Holland, hollankd@piercecollege.edu

(818) 710-4494, ext. 5265

Office Hours: TTh 9:30-10am, MW 10-11am @ Village 8343, & by appt.


Course Description: This course is the sociological study of power, politics, and the state. In political sociology, students will examine the interrelation of politics and society by combining sociological analysis with analyses of political structure and political processes. Emphasis is placed on political sociological theories, elites and masses, the state, globalization, nationalism and social movements, media and interest groups, social and political institutions, capitalism, corporatism, and status.


Required Texts:   

Domhoff, G. William (GD), Who Rules America? 5th Edition          

Parenti, Michael (MP), Democracy For the Few, 8th Edition

Both textbooks are on the reserve shelf in the Library.


Website: All readings and extra credit assignments are found at this website address: . http://faculty.piercecollege.edu/hollandk/


Recommended (any one of the following): New York Times, Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, NPR, KPFK


Week 1:   Topic: The Study of Politics: Theories, & Models of Politics.

                             Readings: MP Chapters 1-4


Week 2:   Topic: The Study of Politics: Political Socialization and Social Class.

                             Readings: GD Chapter 1


Week 3:   Topic: Political Interaction:  Interest Groups & Lobbyists                                               Readings: GD Chapter 5


Week 4:  Topic: The Media in Politics.

                           Readings: MP Chapter 13


Week 5:  Topic: Political Parties & Elections.

 Readings: GD Chapter 6, MP Chapter 14


Week 6:  Topic: The Corporate Community

                           Readings: GD Chapters 2-3, MP Chapter 5


Week 7:  Topic: Corporate Community, cont.

                          Films: Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room

                                    The Corporation                      


Week 8: Spring Break



Week 9: Topic: Think Tanks

                          Readings: GD Chapter 4


Week 10: Topic: Policy-Making: Congress & the Presidency

                          Readings:  GD Chapter 7, MP Chapters 15-16


Week 11: Topic: Policy-Making, Bureaucracy & the Courts

                          Readings:  MP Chapter 6, 8, 10, 17, 18


Week 12: Topic: The National Security/Military Industrial Complex

                          Readings:  MP Chapters 7, 11-12


Week 13:  Topic: Alternatives to the Elites

                          Readings:  GD Chapter 8, MP Chapter 19


Week 14:  Topic: Globalization

                           Readings: MP Chapter 9


Week 15:  Topic: The Nation-State in the Modern World


Week 16: Final Exam:  Please refer to the Final Exam Schedule in the Schedule of Classes.


Grading Requirements:

Grades are determined by your performance on one Term Paper, one Midterm exam (100 points) and on the Final Exam (100 points).  The exams are based on textbook readings and lectures, in essay format. There are NO make-ups for missed exams. Any student caught cheating will automatically fail the course.


The grading scale below is absolute and not based on a curve.

Midterm/Term Paper:  A=90-100    B=80-89   C=60-79   D=50-59  F= Below 50

Final Exam:                 A=90-100    B=80-89   C=60-79   D=50-59   F= Below 50

Final Grade:              A= 270-300   B=240-269  C=180-239  D=150-179   F= Below 150


Final notes:

  1. Proper etiquette requires that all cell phones and beepers be turned off during class time, so please be considerate of the instructor and fellow students.

2.      The use of electronic devices, including electronic dictionaries, is strictly forbidden during exams. It is considered to be a form of cheating.

3.      Lectures may be recorded only with the permission of instructor.

4.      Textbooks need not be brought to class.

5.      Beverages (Coffee, tea, water, etc) are allowed during class, and please throw any trash into the wastebaskets.

6.      Please be on time to class. We have a lot of material to cover  and we need to maximize every moment. If you must be absent from class, get the notes from your fellow classmates. Moreover, it is okay to share, and have study groups!

  1. Extra Credit assignments are due one week before the Final Exam.  None will be accepted at any time after the established due date. Assignments may be turned in via Email.  However, it is the students’ responsibility to verify receipt of all emailed documents.  The Instructor is not responsible for any electronic malfunctions.



Worth 25 extra-credit points.


In order to earn those 25 points toward your final grade in Political Science 1 or 19, students are required to enroll in Service Learning 1 or Service Learning 2 with Prof. Jim Dawson*.  In doing so, students must complete the requirements of Service Learning 1 and 2 and therefore earn 1 college unit of transferable credit, and a “service learning” notation will be added to your academic record. (Remember: many four-year schools will ask to see this on your application and transcripts, and may help you get accepted!).  Proof of successful completion will result in the awarding of the 25 points at the end of the semester.


*Prof. Dawson will visit with a list of specific projects and the add slips necessary for enrollment.