Major Works
Theda Skocpol

States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China

About this title: Theda Skocpol shows how all three combine to explain the origins and accomplishments of social-revolutionary transformations.

The Missing Middle: Working Families and the Future of American Social Policy

About this title: An eye-opening look at how America's social policy has been hijacked by a rhetoric of extremes.

Boomerang: Health Care Reform and the Turn Against Government

About this title: A prize-winning social scientist provides an incisive account of the changing terrain of U.S. politics and public policy. Due to far-reaching changes in the Reagan era. according to Theda Skocpol, the Clinton Health Security bill became a perfect foil for anti-government mobilizationthus its defeat provides a unique window into the new political landscape. Photos & drawings.

Vision and Method in Historical Sociology

About this title: Some of the most important questions of the social sciences in the twentieth century have been posed by scholars working at the intersections of social theory and history viewed on a grand scale. The core essays of this book focus on the careers and contributions of nine of these scholars: Marc Bloch, Karl Polanyi, S. N. Eisenstadt, Reinhard Bendix, Perry Anderson, E. P. Thompson, Charles Tilly, Immanuel Wallerstein, and Barrington Moore, Jr. The essays convey a vivid sense of the vision and values each of these major scholars brings (or bought) to his work and analyze and evaluate the research designs and methods each used in his most important works. The introduction and conclusion discuss the long-running tradition of historically grounded research in sociology, while the conclusion also provides a detailed discussion and comparison of three recurrent strategies for bringing historical evidence and theoretical ideas to bear upon one another. Informative, thought-provoking, and unusually practical, the book offers fascinating and relevant reading to sociologists, social historians, historically oriented political economists, and anthropologists--and, indeed, to anyone who wants to learn more about the ideas and methods of some of the best-known scholars in the modern social sciences.

Social Policy in the United States: Future Possibilities in Historical Perspective

About this title: Health care, welfare, Social Security, employment programs--all are part of ongoing national debates about the future of social policy in the United States. In this wide- ranging collection of essays, Theda Skocpol shows how historical understanding, centered on governmental institutions and political alliances, can illuminate the limits and possibilities of American social policymaking both past and present. Skocpol dispels the myth that Americans are inherently hostile to social spending and suggests why President Clinton's health care agenda was so quickly attacked despite the support of most Americans for his goals.

Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life

About this title: Pundits and social observers have voiced alarm as fewer Americans involve themselves in voluntary groups where people meet regularly. Thousands of nonprofit groups have been launched in recent times, but most are run by professionals who lobby Congress or deliver social services to clients. What will happen to U.S. democracy if participatory groups and social movements wither, while civic involvement becomes one more occupation rather than every citizen's right and duty? In Diminished Democracy, Theda Skocpol shows that this decline in public involvement has not always been the case in this country--and how, by understanding the causes of this change, we might reverse it. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, farmers' groups, women's associations, unions, veterans groups, fraternal orders, and crusades for social change and moral reform spread across the United States. Using information newly collected from antique stores and eBay auctions as well as libraries and archives. Skocpol traces the growth and activities of groups that operated nationally as well as locally and recruited many American adults as members. She shows how democratic government and voluntary associations worked hand-in-hand through much of the nation's past. Then, after the 1960s, civic life suddenly changed. Many new advocacy groups appeared to speak on behalf of people formerly at the margins of social life and politics. But professionally managed agencies displaced membership groups, leaving regular Americans with fewer opportunities to unite across class lines and get involved in community and public affairs.

Social Revolutions in the Modern World

About this title: Theda Skocpol, author of the award-winning 1979 book States and Social Revolutions, updates her arguments about social revolutions.

Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in United States

About this title: It is a commonplace that the United States lagged behind the countries of Western Europe in developing modern social policies. But, as Theda Skocpol shows in this startlingly new historical analysis, the United States actually pioneered generous social spending for many of its elderly, disabled, and dependent citizens. During the late nineteenth century, competitive party politics in American democracy led to the rapid expansion of benefits for Union Civil War veterans and their families. Some Americans hoped to expand veterans' benefits into pensions for all of the needy elderly and social insurance for workingmen and their families. But such hopes went against the logic of political reform in the Progressive Era. Generous social spending faded along with the Civil War generation. Instead, the nation nearly became a unique maternalist welfare state as the federal government and more than forty states enacted social spending, labor regulations, and health education programs to assist American mothers and children. Remarkably, as Skocpol shows, many of these policies were enacted even before American women were granted the right to vote. Banned from electoral politics, they turned their energies to creating huge, nation-spanning federations of local women's clubs, which collaborated with reform-minded professional women to spur legislative action across the country. Blending original historical research with political analysis, Skocpol shows how governmental institutions, electoral rules, political parties, and earlier public policies combined to determine both the opportunities and the limits within which social policies were devised and changed by reformers and politically active social groups over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By examining afresh the institutional, cultural, and organizational forces that have shaped U.S. social policies in the past, "Protecting Soldiers and Mothers challenges us to think in new ways about what might be possible in the American future.


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