Academic journal article
By Scanlan, Stephen J
Political and Military Sociology , Vol. 31, No. 2
Political Sociology for the 21st Century by Betty A. Dobratz, Lisa K. Waldner, and Timothy Buzzell, Editors. Oxford, UK: Elsevier, 2003. (pp. 342 / $90.00 (cloth)
Questions of central importance to political sociology are as old as societies themselves. Where elites and masses have clashed, organizations and political systems have completed, social movements have battled, and power has resided, so too has the need for systematic understanding of the sociological meaning of power. Theoretical and empirical evaluation of politics and society have evolved to adapt to social change, address new challenges, and look to future debates. This is the motivation for the contribution of Political Sociology for the 21st Century.
Dobratz et al. assemble a fine collection of research addressing some of the most defining and pressing issues for political sociology. This twelfth volume from the series Research in Political Sociology continues a tradition of presenting innovative research on a broad range of key topics including public opinion and civil society, electoral politics, social movements, and the comparative historical analysis of the state. Overall, the volume offers theoretical insights while pondering key methodological considerations for empirically evaluating the questions it raises. The authors link their contributions to the rich past that defines political sociological research and project forward to what should be a promising future for this important branch of sociology.
The limited pace of this review will not allow discussion of the important merits of each contribution, but the following works highlight major themes. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Tyrone A. Forman, Amanda E. Lewis, and David G. Embrick, for example, offer new directions for examining racism. They argue that a "Latin-Americanization" of race relations in the United States will make politics increasingly contentious and complex as white dominance becomes buffered from other groups with prevailing "color blind racism." Bonilla-Silva et al. thus contribute greatly to how future struggles in civil society can be expected to play out along important race dynamics. Harold R. Kerbo and Juan J. Gonzalex offer a similarly engaging piece on electoral politics and the importance of class for understanding patterns of non-voting in the United States and Western liberal democracies. …