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September 13, 2015Introduction to Political Science1 Introduction: Politics and Political Science Frank H. Brooks

Dec 27, 2015

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  • *Introduction to Political Science*Introduction: Politics and Political ScienceFrank H. Brooks

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*What Is Politics?Assumption I: Politics is necessary because of human selfishness, bias, and conflictMadison (Federalist #51): If men were angels, no government would be necessary.Human nature makes politics a challengeIs this cynical? Realistic? Pragmatic?Assumption II: Politics can be civilizingAristotle (Politics, Book III): a state exists for the sake of a good life and not for the sake of life only; if life only were the object, slaves and brute animals might form a stateIs this idealistic? A critique of existing states and politics?Middle ground?Otto von Bismarck: politics is the art of the possible

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*What Is Politics Really?Etienne de la Boetie (The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude):Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, picture, and other such opiatesDistractions to dominateAmbrose Bierce (The Devils Dictionary)Politics is a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantageHypocrisy and corruptionSaddam HusseinPolitics is when you say you are going to do one thing while intending to do another. Then you do neither what you said or what you intended.deviousness

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*What Is Political Science?Scientific method applied to study of politicsIs this possible? Ethical?How does political science differ from physical sciences?Can politics be studied objectively? Should it be?A set of related disciplines attempting to better understand politicsWhat is the subject matter (scope)?Consider anatomy of disciplineStructure of departments, requirements for majors, prominent journalsFields and subfieldsLittle consensus on scope or methods, especially nowDebates on conceptual and analytical frameworkConvergence of formerly distinct fieldsPolitical science and comparative politicsMost basic strategy of political science is comparisonExplanatory models evaluated by focused comparison of casesObviously central to field of comparative politicsDone also in studies of public policy, international relations, even political theory

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*Course GoalsWhy study politics by comparing?CuriosityAnalysisCritique/reformDescribeAppreciate similarities and differences between governments and politics in different countriesSystematizeIdentify and categorize major political phenomena, institutions, policies, performance, and changeAnalyze and explainExamine how comparativists try to understand and explain these elements of government and politicsApply to politicsHow can we better understand (and fix?) contemporary political phenomena and changes

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*Scope of Comparative PoliticsWhat is to be studied?Statesaka governmentPolitical scientists distinguish between state, governments, regimesAnalytical concepts: institutions, processes, conflictsSocietyThat which is governedobject of states actions; subject which directs stateAnalytical concepts: class, religion, nationality, ethnicity, identityGlobal ContextNot International relations per se, but relations between/among states and societiesConcepts: globalization, world systems, colonialismPerformanceWhat is actually done and accomplishedConcepts: policies, political economy

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*Scope IIPolitical Systems v. Political ChangeWhich is more essential: what persists or what changes/develops?metaphysics of politicsSystemsstatic explanation order, organicConcepts and approaches: behavioralism and functionsChangeCycles, decline and progressExamples: Modernization theory, explanations of revolution, theories of democratization

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*Methods of ComparisonDescription v. ComparisonLarge N v. Small NCan Comparative Politics be a Science?Major methodsCase studiesStatistical analysisStructured, focused comparisonRegional studies

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*Key ConceptsQuick review of major definitionsPoliticsState, Regime and GovernmentPower v. Authority

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*Politicsthe struggle in any group for power that will give one or more persons the ability to make decisions for the larger group (ONeil, p. 3)Binding on group membersSize and nature of groups variesCould be seen as process, but more realistically as struggleNarrower: the struggle for the authority to make decisions that will affect the public as a wholeBinding on public as a wholeAuthority and power are key concepts

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*StateMax Weber: a human community that (successfully) claims a monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territorythe authoritative decision-making institutions for an entire society, to which all other groups, institutions and persons are legally subjectDefinitions of state beg definition of constituent concepts:Territory (society) where/over what does state rule?Techniques force, decisionsSovereignty (degree, internal v. external)Authority and legitimacy

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*Regime v. GovernmentRegimeOften connotes illegitimate system of governingMore neutrally, the fundamental rules and norms of politics (ONeil, p. 22)Government Broad definition: A regular and settled pattern of decision-makingOrderly and patterned, not spontaneousCan apply to many organizations, e.g. universities, clubs, churches, unionsNarrow definition: the leadership or elite in charge of running the state (ONeil, p. 23)Relationship of state, regime and governmentState is administration, sovereignty (basic structural unit) the whatRegime is processes for running the state the howGovernment is the particular personnel and policies at a given time the who

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*PowerNot equivalent to forcePower to v. power overThree forms of power (Boulding)The stick use forceThe deal make dealsThe kiss create commitmentsInvisible power (Lukes)

    Introduction to Political Science

  • *Introduction to Political Science*AuthorityDistinct from powerMachiavelli creating obedienceRight to ruleWebers bases of authorityTraditionalCharismaticLegal-rational

    Introduction to Political Science

    **Aristotle (more): "a state is not a mere society, having a common place, established for the prevention of mutual crime and for the sake of exchange. These are conditions without which a state cannot exist; but all of them together do not constitute a state, which is a community of families and aggregations of families in well-being; for the sake of a perfect and self-sufficing life." *De la Boetie (more): Politics is appealing to the base instincts: "The most intelligent and understanding amongst them would not have quit his soup bowl to recover the liberty of the Republic of Plato. Tyrants would distribute largess, a bushel of wheat , a gallon of wine, and a sesterce, and then everybody would shamelessly cry, Long live the King!"

    Hussein source (Aamer Madhani, Saddam Hussein, 1937-2006 Chicago Tribune, Dec. 30, 2006, pp. 1, 21): http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0612300077dec30,1,6709892.story?page=4&cset=true&ctrack=1*Scientific method applied to study of politicsIs this possible? Ethical?Can one apply hypotheses, testing, etc. to such phenomena? If so, is it ethical? If not, are there "systematic" ways of studying politics that come close to science? How does political science differ from physical sciences?Do those phenomena follow the same kinds of rules as "physical" phenomena? Does volition change the nature of causality? Can politics be studied objectively? Should it be?

    a set of related disciplines attempting to better understand politics What is the subject matter (scope)? What exactly is being studied? States? Voters? Constitutions? Processes, institutions, systems? This is an issue in physical science too, e.g. "Is an organisms behavior best understood by looking at its genetic makeup or its environment?" Consider anatomy of disciplineStructure of departments; major journals, etc.Fields and subfieldsAs such, political science includes such major fields (genuses) as political theory, public policy, comparative politics, and international relations Also includes subdivisions (species) such as history of political theory, formal theory, comparative public policy, American politics, international political economy, etc. Little consensus on scope or methods, especially nowDebates on conceptual and analytical frameworkConvergence of formerly distinct fields

    *Why compare?Appreciate similarities and differences between governments and politicssome countries important in their own right (unique, interesting, worth knowing more about)some important for impact on us (threat, opportunity, etc.)Consider major political phenomena, institutions, policies, performance, and changewhat are the things one needs to know about to have a more systematic understanding of states and politics?Key concepts such as state, authority, legitimacy, participation, stability, responsivenessExamine how comparativists try to understand and explain these elements of government and politicscan develop theories about politics institutions, pro

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