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Introduction to Comparative Politics

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Introduction to Comparative Politics

  1. 1. POL 252 Fall 2014
  2. 2. Politics: “Who gets what, when and how” (Lasswell) Politics: Struggle for power; emphasis on decision-making Political scientists study leadership in political community  Political party, legislature, city, region, country
  3. 3. Power: Ability to influence others or impose will on them First Dimension of Power (Lukes) Second Dimension of Power (Bachrach and Baratz) Third Dimension of Power (Lukes)  Examples: Campaign Commercials
  4. 4. Subfield of political science that compares the pursuit of power across countries Examples of Power Imbalances:  State Control vs. Individual Freedom  Plutocracy vs. Egalitarianism
  5. 5. Based on simple questions:  Who?  What?  When?  Where?
  6. 6. INSTRUCTIONS: Just like Jeopardy!, come up a topic of your choice (does NOT have to be political—can be movies, music, etc.) Write questions and answers using the Four W’s Can use phones, laptops, etc. to find answers Example: The American Presidency WHO was our sixteenth president? (Abraham Lincoln) WHAT did he do while in office? (Signed Emancipation Proclamation) WHEN did he serve? (1861-1865) WHERE did he die? (Ford’s Theater, Washington, D.C.)
  7. 7. Knowing the four W’s can answer a lot of interesting questions. In Lincoln example, “Why?” question might be:  Why was Lincoln such a great orator?
  8. 8. INSTRUCTIONS: Return to your group and come up with a few “Why?” questions related to your original topic.
  9. 9. Why are some countries democratic and others are not? Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why do countries have different institutions and forms of government? Why do countries have different public policies? Why are some social revolutions and others fail? Why do countries go to war?
  10. 10. GENERAL QUESTION Why do countries go to war? SPECIFIC QUESTION Why did Britain support U.S. involvement in the Iraq War?
  11. 11. Institutions Interests Ideas Individuals International Environment Interactions
  12. 12. Government Performance  Unemployment and Inflation Constitutional Structures (and resulting institutions) “Behavioral Revolution” in Political Science
  13. 13. Lasswell Definition of Politics How do individuals and groups define their interests?  Politically  Economically  Socially
  14. 14. Political Culture What do people think about politics?  Opinion Polling (e.g. Gallup Poll, World Values Survey, etc.) Equality, Loyalty, Freedom, Justice, Trust Impact of ideas change over time  Why?
  15. 15. James David Barber
  16. 16. ACTIVE-PASSIVE How much energy does the president invest in their job? POSITIVE-NEGATIVE How much does the president enjoy their job?
  17. 17. Credit given to Dr. James M. Curry, GVPT 475, University of Maryland Active-Positive Thomas Jefferson Franklin D. Roosevelt Teddy Roosevelt JFK Active-Negative Can we categorize recent presidents? George W. Bush? Barack Obama? John Adams LBJ Woodrow Wilson Richard Nixon James Madison Ronald Reagan William H. Taft Passive-Positive G George Washington Calvin Coolidge Dwight D. Eisenhower Ulysses S. Grant Passive-Negative Presidential Character
  18. 18. Individual Country Focus  Why problematic? International Influences European Union as Case Study
  19. 19. How do EU member states balance individual history, culture, etc. while part of a large continental organization?
  20. 20. Assumes individuals are rational and self-interested with sincere preferences  What? Borrowed from economics (“utility maximization”) Example: Building a New Road in Murray  Representative Whitfield  Other Members in Congress
  21. 21. Set of widely held attitudes, values, beliefs, and symbols about politics  Gives people a way to understand politics Culture of location can change—but does slowly—since it becomes ingrained in society  Endures because of political socialization Cultural values can influence forms of power
  22. 22. Well-defined attitudes, values, beliefs are clearly identified within any political culture
  23. 23. Question Modernists’ argument Cultures NOT fixed with set values; subject to interpretation  Societies have subcultures (e.g. South and Northeast in U.S.) Importance of political discourse Example: Meaning of “family values”
  24. 24. Set of beliefs about how a political system should be constructed  Examples: ▪ Republicans vs. Democrats in U.S. ▪ Conservatives vs. Labour in UK
  25. 25. Argue that political structures influence and limit behavior Marxism and Institutionalism What is an institution?
  26. 26. Who rules in the United States?  Democratically-elected political actors ▪ Presidents, legislators, justices  Voters Who rules in other countries?  A dictator  The military  Something or someone else
  27. 27. Distribution of Resources  Social, Economic, Political  Variation in Supply of Resources Discusses power and influence in New Haven, CT  Will return to this during week on democracies and democratization
  28. 28. Society divided into various groups and power is dispersed so that no group has absolute power Common in countries with opposing political parties Policy = Compromise Power and Influence Varies  Example: Democrats and U.S. House
  29. 29. Societies are ruled by elite; effective monopoly on power C. Wright Mills Elite groups control society. Includes notable families, celebrities, CEO’s of companies, stockholders, etc.
  30. 30. Marxism Patriarchy Racial Elite
  31. 31. Who is in formal position of power? Who has influence in governmental-decision- making? Who benefits from decisions made?

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