Shared Flashcard Set

Details

Essentials of Comparative Politics
Comparative Government and Politics Exam 1 Chapter 1
86
Political Studies
02/23/2010

Additional Political Studies Flashcards

 


 

Cards

Term
comparative politics
Definition
the study and comparison of domestic politics across countries; a subfield that compares the struggle for power across countries
Term
three basic concept categories for political science and comparative politics 
Definition
analytical concepts, methods, and ideals
Term
analytical concepts
Definition
assumptions and theories that guide our research; help ask questions about cause and effect
Term
methods
Definition
ways to study and test theories; provide tools to seek out explanations
Term
ideals
Definition
values and beliefs about preferred outcomes; provide a way to compare what we find in political life to what we would prefer
Term
institutions
Definition
organizations or activities that are self-perpetuating and valued for their own sake; play an important role by laying out the rules, norms, and structures through which we operate; give meaning to human activity; democracy, ethnic group, religion; World Trade Center
Term
politics
Definition
the struggle in any group for power that will give one or more persons the ability to make decisions for the larger group; it is hard to separate the idea of politics from the idea of power
Term
power
Definition
the ability to influence or impose one's will on others
Term
comparative method
Definition
a way to make comparisons across cases and draw conclusions; researchers seek out puzzles as a way to guide their research, and from there, rely on the comparative method
Term
inductive reasoning
Definition
single-case approach; the means by which we go from studying a case to generating a hypothesis; a "building block" to greater theories in comparative politics; starts with the evidence as a way to undercover a hypothesis; the study of one country alone can generate interesting hypotheses, but alone is not enough to test them; start in the field
Term
deductive reasoning
Definition
starting with a puzzle and from there generating some hypothesis about cause and effect which will then be tested against a number of cases; starts with the hypothesis and then seeks out the evidence
Term
correlation
Definition
apparent association; we may find a correlation between certain factors or variables by carrying out deductive reasoning studies
Term
comparative politics problem #1
Definition
political scientists are unable to control the variables in the cases they study; in our search for cause-and-effect relationships, we are unable to make true comparisons because each of our cases is quite different; countries are amazingly diverse in terms of economics, culture, geography, resources, and political structures, and it is difficult to control for these differences
Term
comparative politics problem #2
Definition
political scientists are often hampered by a limited number of cases; we are limited by the number of countries in the world, fewer than 200 at present; if we attempt to control for differences by trying to find a number of cases that are similar, our total body of cases will be relatively small
Term
comparative politics problem # 3
Definition
how do we access the cases we do have? few comparativists have the language skills, time, or resources to conduct field research in a number of countries; research is further hindered by the barriers that make countries unique; the information that political scientists seek if often not easy to acquire; international travel requires time and money; interviewees may be unwilling to speak or may distort information; libraries may be incomplete or restricted
Term
specialization of comparativists
Definition
comparativists often master knowledge of a single country or language and rely on deductive reasoning; this limits the kinds of comparisons they can make; specialization tends to congregate around those regions that can be easily studied at home and abroad; this means that comparative politics is slow to shift its focus when new challenges and questions arise
Term
comparative politics problem # 4
Definition
issues of bias; question of how we select our cases; single-case studies are already influenced by the fact that comparatiists study a country because they know its language or would prefer to travel there; even if we rely instead on deductive reasoning, we can easily fall into the trap of selection bias
Term
selection bias
Definition
a focus on effects rather than causes, which can lead to inaccurate conclusions about correlation or causation; better that we concentrate on what we think is our cause rather than what we think is our effect
Term
endogeneity
Definition
problem of cause and effect; major obstacle in any comparative research; we can't easily ascertain which is cause and which is affect; "the motor of history" (causes and effects tend to evolve together, each trandforming the other over time)
Term
Aristotle
Definition
philosopher; in the West, his work departed from the traditional emphasis on political ideals to conduct comparative research on existing political systems; used comparative method to study the constitutions of 158 Greek city-states; objective to understand the different forms of politics that actually existed and their relative strengths and weaknesses; conceived of an empirical science of politics with a practical purpose: statecraft, or how to govern; first Westerner to separate the study of politics from that of philosophy; wrote "The Politics"
Term
Post-Aristotle
Definition
for the next 1,800 years, discussions of politics remained embedded in the realm of philosophy, with the emphasis placed on how politics should be rather than how politics was actually conducted; ideals, rather than conclusions drawn from evidence, were the norm
Term
Niccolo Machiavelli
Definition
first modern political scientist; with his works, a comparative approach to politics truly emerged; sought to analyze the political systems that existed and those that preceded him; tried to make generalizations about success and failure, which he believed could be applied by statesman to avoid their predecessors' mistakes
Term
late 16th/ early 17th century
Definition
authors such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke followed in Machiavelli's footsteps, advocating particular political systems but on the basis of empirical observation and analysis
Term
18th century
Definition
scholars such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Baron de Montesquieu's studies of the separation of power and civil liberties directly influenced the writing of the American Constitution and others to follow
Term
19th century/ early 20th century
Definition
work of Karl Marx and Max Weber further added to political science with analyses of the nature of political and economic organization and power
Term
turn of the twentieth century
Definition
political science formally existed as a field of study; the study of comparative politics resembled a kind of political journalism: largely descriptive, atheoretical, and concentrated on Europe, which still dominated world politics; little resembled a comparative method
Term
turning point in political science and comparative politics
Definition
the two world wars and the rise of the Cold War
Term
turning point reason #1
Definition
among universities there was a growing move toward applying more rigorous methods to studying human behavior
Term
turning point reason #2
Definition
the world wars raised serious questions about the ability of scholars to meaningfully contribute to an understanding of world affairs; the creation of new countries, the rise of fascism, and the failure of democracy throughout much of interwar Europe were vital concerns
Term
turning point reason #3
Definition
the Cold War with a rival Soviet Union, armed with nuclear weapons and revolutionary ideology, made understanding comparative politics a matter of survival
Term
turning point reason #4
Definition
the postwar period saw a wave of technological innovation that generated a widespread belief that through technological innovation many social problems could be recast as technical concerns, finally to be resolved through science
Term
modernization theory
Definition
a theory asserting that as societies developed, they would become capitalist democracies, converging around a shared set of values and characteristics; theory assumed all countries would eventually catch up with the West unless "diverted" by alternative systems such as communism; a set of hypotheses about how countries develop
Term
behavioral revolution
Definition
during the 50s and 60s, comparativists influenced by modernization theory expanded their research to include more cases; field research became the normal means by which political scientists gather data; new computer technology combined with statistical methods; the subject of investigation shifted away from political institutions and toward individual political behavior; hoped to generate theories and generalizations that could help explain and predict political activity; would ideally lead to a "grand theory" of political behavior and modernization that would be valid across countries; quantitative; emphasizes causality, explanation, and prediction; shift from descriptive study; political ideals are unscientific
Term
CP
Definition
domestic specific to one country
Term
IR
Definition
linkage between one or more countries
Term
"modern" vs. "traditional"
Definition

modern - developed

traditional - developing

Term
qualitative
Definition
cultural immersion; soak and poke; get a feel for the area
Term
quantitative
Definition
statistics; large number of variables; often supported by numbers
Term
informal institutions
Definition
values not in law, but if challenged, there are sanctions; patriarchial societies
Term
civil society
Definition
between the private realm and the state
Term
sovereignty
Definition
ability of states to carry out civil society/ actions or policies within a territory independently from external actors or internal rivals
Term
1960's
Definition
behavioral revolution - scientific;Modernization - focusing on developing world; stats; causality issue; quantitative; aid is romanticized; research is value free; all on same trail, ignores history (colonialism); area studies grows
Term
1970's
Definition
development is not occurring quickly because West taking advantage of developing nations; greedy elites; national growth of colony comes when hegemony (metropole) link broken; events shake things up in CP; later - significant obstacles; theories that had been developed, such as modernization, increasingly failed to match politics on the ground; rather than becoming more capitalist and democratic, many newly independent countries collapsed in the face of violent conflict and revolution, to be replaced by authoritarianism
Term
1980's
Definition
differing ideologies; developing nations rising above poverty; collapse of communism not predicted; modes of resistance, informal institutions, rat choice theory, questioning colonialism and role of states; later - question civil societies, examine evolution of democracy; 3rd wave of democracy; ethnicity
Term
1990's
Definition
post Cold War ideologies; relationship between states and societies; state collapse; case studies come to forefront; why doesn't democracy naturally occur?; international role, backlash to rat choice (culture matters!); later - comparative case studies on protests, development and economy become bigger
Term
rational choice
Definition
approach that assumes that individuals weigh the costs and benefits and make choices to maximize their benefits
Term
Thomas Hobbes
Definition
developed the notion of a "social contract", whereby people surrender certain liberties in favor of order; advocated a powerful state in "Leviathan"
Term
John Locke
Definition
argued that private property is essential to individual freedom and prosperity; advocated a weak state in his "Two Treatises of Government"
Term
Montesquieu
Definition
studied government systems; advocated the separation of powers within government in "The Spirit of Laws"
Term
Rousseau
Definition
argued that citizens' rights are inalienable and cannot be taken away by the state; influenced the development of civil rights; "The Social Contract" 
Term
Karl Marx
Definition
elaborated a theory of economic development and inequality in "Das Kapital"; predicted the eventual collapse of capitalism and democracy
Term
Max Weber
Definition
wrote widely on such topics as bureaucracy, forms of authority, and the impact of culture on economic and political development; "Economy and Society"
Term
nowadays
Definition
rational choice (self interest) - factors driven by the economy; culturalist (Weber) - qualitative, anthropology, emersion may overlook comparison, more narrow; structuralist (Marx) - formal institutions, how society is working, overlooks informal institutions; emphasis on reconnecting political science to central policy questions and reengaging political ideals
Term
behavioralism
Definition
a set of methods with which to approach politics; promoted deductive, large-scale research over single-case study common in inductive reasoning
Term
traditional approach
Definition
emphasis on describing political systems and their various institutions; 
Term
postbehavioralism
Definition
rejection of a grand theory of politics; criticism of modernization theory as biased and inaccurate; diversity of methods and political approaches, emphasizing such issues as gender, culture, environment, and globalization
Term
methodological debates
Definition
how best to gather and analyze data; traditional "area studies" scholars continue to emphasize the importance of deep, long-term investigations of particular countries or regions, relying on qualitative evidence; advocates of a quantitative approach favor a greater use of statistical analysis as well as mathematical models often drawn from economics
Term
quantitative method
Definition
gathering of statistical data across a large number of countries in order to look for correlations and test hypotheses about cause and effect; breadth over depth; biased over past 50 years
Term
qualitative method
Definition
mastery of a limited number of cases through the detailed study of their history, language, and culture; depth over breadth
Term
rationality debate
Definition
are human beings rational? does their behavior conform to some generally understandable behavior? advocates that say yes rely on rational choice or game theory to study the rules and games by which politics is played and how we seek to realize our preferences; qualitative political scientists are skeptical of this view; believe that humans are essentially unpredictable and the emphasis on individual rationality discounts the importance of historical complexity
Term
game theory
Definition
an approach that emphasizes how actors or organizations behave in their goal to influence others; built upon assumptions of rational choice
Term
How can we organize our ideas and information?
Definition
institutions - something so embedded in people's lives as a norm or value that it is not easily dislodged or changed; commands and generates legitimacy
Term
why are institutions difficult to change or eliminate? what problem can this cause?
Definition
they are embedded in each of us, in how we see the world and what we thing is valuable and important; people may resist even necessary change because they have difficulty accepting the idea that certain institutions have outlived their value
Term
why do we obey institutions?
Definition
we see them as legitimate ways to conduct politics; example: taxes are considered a legitimate way to fun the programs that society needs; exemplified by the army,police, legislature, courts taxation, elections, and the state
Term
how do institutions set the stage for political behavior?
Definition
because institutions generate norms and values, they favor and allow certain kinds of political activity and not others; not only are institutions the result of politics, they can also be the cause
Term
what is the core debate at the heart of all politics?
Definition
the struggle between freedom and equality
Term
freedom
Definition
the ability of an individual to act independently, without the fear of restriction or punishment by the state or other individuals or groups in society; free speech, free assembly, freedom of religion
Term
equality
Definition
a shared material standard of individuals within a community, society, or country
Term
freedom vs. equality
Definition
the US has one of the highest degrees of both personal freedom and economic inequality in the world; for some, managing freedom and equality necessitates centralized political power; others view such power as the very impediment to freedom and equality
Term
what is the goal of political activity?
Definition
to reconcile the competing values of individual freedom and collective equality
Term
what are the three major theories that have emerged within the field of comparative politics?
Definition
cultural, structural, and rational-choice
Term
model
Definition
a conjecture or hypothesis about people's behavior that (a) makes sense in terms of what we already know, (b) is "fertile", or logically implies predictions about behavior that we are not immediately studying, and (c) is testable
Term
culturalists
Definition
emphasize area studies - close knowledge of a country or region
Term
rationalists
Definition
stress the "science" in "social science", seeking general laws of political behavior and institutions that would apply in all areas of the world
Term
structuralists
Definition
a divide between culturalists and rationalists
Term
good comparative theory must be what?
Definition
fertile, testable, and tentative, and must seek to simplify complexity
Term
why did area studies decline?
Definition
too many area-studies experts had significantly failed to understand what was going on in the areas they knew best (ex: decline of the Soviet Union); also, as previous dictatorships and planned economies shifted to more democratic and market-oriented politics, general expertise in voting, public opinion, and comparative institutions came to be more widely applied and more important than area specialization
Term
what challenges of the current era stand at the center of today's research?
Definition
domestic conflict, state-building, the political bases of economic growth, and democratization
Term
rationalists
Definition
begin with assumptions about actors who act deliberately to maximize their advantage; use the power of mathematical reasoning to elaborate explanations with impressive scope; analysis begins at the level of the individual and culminates in questions about collective actions, choices, and institutions; seek to maximize the ability to provide universal laws that may be used in nomothetic explanations
Term
culturalists
Definition
Weber; provide nuanced and detailed readings of particular cases, frequently drawn from fieldwork, as they seek to understand the phenomena being studied; maximize the importance of reliability as they describe the constellations of particular cases and minimize the value of generalist research expectations; interpret particular events, decisions, and patterns, eschewing any need to tie explanations to general principles
Term
structuralist
Definition
Marx; draw together long-standing interests in political and social institutions; emphasize the formal organizations of government; retain concern with class relations; political parties and interest groups; analyses of how states and societies interact; emphasize themes of political economy; follow Marx and Weber's contention that theory and data guide social analysis; offer universal theories that include causal accounts; struggle to tie reliable descriptions into powerful generalizations
Term
Ontological differences (nature of existence) 
Definition

rationalists - study how actors employ reason to satisfy their interests

culturalists - study rules that constitute individual and group identities

structuralists - explore relations among actors in an institutional context

Term
explanatory strategy
Definition

rationalists - perform comparative static experiments

culturalists - produce interpretive understandings

structuralists - study the historical dynamics of real social types

Term
differences of rationalists
Definition
debate the utility of relaxing the core assumption that defines individuals as maximizers of their self-interest; debate over the proper form of explanation, some seeking covering laws and others proposing causal accounts, as they debate the necessity of transforming formal models into accounts of events
Term
differences of structuralists
Definition
differ over the ontological status of their concepts; differ over the utility of nomothetic and causal explanations
Term
differences in culturalists
Definition
disagree over the theoretical importance of generalizations drawn from their fieldwork; differ over the nature of explanation in comparative politics; some reject any form of covering law or causal accounts, offering only interpretations of political life in particular places; others move toward the mainstream of comparative politics, incorporating values and systems of meaning into theories that adhere to the standard forms of explanation