Political Sociology and the Global South


PSGS was created in 2015 by sociology graduate students and faculty interested in intersecting issues in the Global South, including socioeconomic development and underdevelopment; political and social movements; labor and social protection; ethnicity and gender; and state-society relations.  As the working group continues in its seventh year, we will be building on an established community of scholars from sociology and across north campus. An average of eight to fifteen participants consistently attend our meetings.  High attendance and diverse membership have made PSGS a lively space for intellectual exchange that is inclusive of a variety of subfields and methodologies.  We maintain a unifying focus on political and economic processes in the developing world that binds different subject areas together and provides an analytical and global orientation that is distinct from other sociology working groups.  We explicitly adopt a Global South perspective toward the social world because we are concerned that many of the claims made in the name of “general sociology” reflect the rather local experiences of the North-Atlantic world.  We are convinced that studying the Global South will bring new insights to subfields across our field.


The organization of our working group is guided by four objectives:

  1. To maintain and strengthen an intellectual community of students and faculty within sociology and across departments interested in social, political, and economic issues in the Global South.
  2. To foster critical and constructive dialogues that interrogate the gaps between social theory and empirical realities.
  3. To foster academic training and research for graduate students that incorporates multiple areas of the Global South and various methodologies including comparative-historical, ethnographic, and quantitative analyses.
  4. To develop a meaningful academic network of scholars interested in these fields that extends beyond UCLA.


Past external speakers (abridged):

  • Andrew Walder (Stanford)
  • Javier Auyero (UT-Austin)
  • Nina Bandelj (UC Irvine)
  • Michael Burawoy (UC Berkeley)
  • Vivek Chibber (NYU)
  • Brodwyn Fischer (Univ of Chicago)
  • Aihwa Ong (UC Berkeley)